- Written by: Jaimie N. Schock
- Series: The Last to Die
- Sequence in Series: Book 1
- Publisher: Less Than Three Press
- Publication Date: March 27, 2019
- IBSN: 1684315050
- ISBN13: 978-1684315055
- Genre: Fantasy/ LGBT Romance
Exhausted with life, Dakota tries to end his—only to be saved at the last moment by his friend, Terrell, who then drags him into a world of magic and intrigue that’s always been right there, hidden beneath the surface.Powerful magic users are steadily dragging the planet into a violent war, and evil forces will stop at nothing to take the talismans possessed by Dakota and his newfound family. Dakota soon finds himself deeply in over his head—with love, with family, with fighting for all their lives.
This is the debut novel of author Jaimie N. Schock, whose fast paced genre-bending story will keep you constantly on your toes. I paired this book with Romeo Y Julieta Romeo No 1 in honor of its LGBTQ love story and, on recommendation from the author, a shot of spicy Fireball. I thought I was in for a light fantasy adventure dealing in magical talismans with a side of romance. What I got was an action packed, hard hitting fantasy world heavily doused in romance.
Jaimie N. Schock excels in creating believable main characters by providing detailed histories and honest flaws. You come to care about the main character and his partner, with many reasons to be concerned. Schock is ruthless with the trials she puts each character through. The variety of characters within the story, from disabled to LGBTQ, guarantees there will be someone you can personally identify with. The characters are carefully crafted so that you can’t help but feel their joy in moments of triumph, terror when they’re in danger, and sympathy when things go horribly wrong.
Schock does a little more telling than showing than I would have preferred to see, but she comfortably tells her story. The pacing of the plot is amazingly well executed. Schock courageously kicks you in the teeth with intense action in the first scene and maintains the pace for the entirety of the book (no small feat to accomplish when each scene’s tension must be stronger than the last). The bad guys are breathing down the neck of our hero and the wonderful romance between Dakota and Terrell fill in the space with tumultuous moments of wondering what comes next for them.
Schock builds a world hidden within the shadows of our own that is on the brink of being outed. She impressively balances the secrecy of the world of talismans with the slow exposure to the real world. However, it seems that Schock is determined to make us wait to find out just exactly what will happen when the two worlds collide. The Pyre Starter is only book one in a series and ends with many important questions unanswered. It left me curious (burning even) to find out what is in store for our main character and hoping desperately that he finds his happily ever after.
I found The Pyre Starter never seemed to pause in either its emotional or physical action. I would recommend this to anyone looking for realistic love stories nestled in high intensity action.