August 22, 2009

The Fire King (Dirk & Steele, Book 9) by Marjorie M. Liu

The Fire King (Dirk & Steele, Book 9) by Marjorie M. Liu

Leisure Books (July 28, 2009)

307 pages

$7.99 (, 08/22/09)

Fire King

Plot: 4

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Passion: 4

Overall: 28/30 = 93%

Cover/Title Bonus: 5

Dorchester Pub sent this wonderful book to me to review a few weeks ago.

Summary (author’s website):

Long ago, shape-shifters were plentiful, soaring through the sky as crows, racing across African veldts as cheetahs, raging furious as dragons atop the Himalayas. Like gods, they reigned supreme. But even gods have laws, and those laws, when broken, destroy.


Zoufalství. Epätoivo. Asa. Three words in three very different languages, and yet Soria understands. Like all members of Dirk & Steele, she has a gift, and hers is communication.  When she is chosen to learn the dead language of a shape-shifter resurrected after thousands of years of icy sleep, she discovers a warrior consumed with fury.


Strong as a lion, quick as a serpent—Karr is his name, and in his day he was king. But he is a son of strife, a creature of tragedy.  As fire consumed all he loved, so death was to be his atonement. Now, against his will, he has awoken.  Zoufalství. Epätoivo. Asa. In English, the word is despair. But Soria knows the words for love.


Read an excerpt on her website as well!


Soria, a young woman with a missing arm is forced to return to a day job she’s not fond of doing but she’d rather live so she cooperates. She has a talent for being able to speak any language. No matter what. How cool is that!?

Karr is a mystical shape shifting creature that is awoken from a tomb he was buried alive in many, many years ago. He is captured and imprisoned until someone able to speak his language is found.

Soria is able to speak to Karr and she finds a way to form a bond with the enormous, dangerous creature he houses inside. Together they escape and are on the runs for their lives.


Briefly the setting is in the US but it quickly switches to Russia, in Mongolia I remember. There’s a ton of desert walking and flying. A sandstorm scene was pretty intense.


Marjorie knows her stuff! Since the main character was a linguist and I did read that Marjorie too studied languages there was a ton of references to those foreign languages. The entire book flowed very well. There was a large portion of this book dedicated to action scenes. The detail shown to the shifters was awesome. And writing the main character as having only one arm? Amazingly done. Finding out the back story to why Soria lost her arm doesn’t happen until a little past half way through the book, which worked well but had me constantly wondering what the hell happened to her arm! It was a major distraction and I wish the reader would have found out about that a bit sooner.


This wasn’t my first shape shifter book by a long shot but it was a very awesome one. It was my first book that had a disabled main character but that didn’t stop her from being amazingly strong and actually even more so because she had an extra obstacle to overcome.

The shape shifters in this book were different than others I’ve read though. Karr is a half breed so he’s able to mix and match the shapes that his parents were: dragon and lion, making a pretty intense and beautiful creature.


Soria is amazing. I had my doubts in the beginning when I first learned that she was missing an arm. But she doesn’t let it stop her from kicking ass. She’s mentally strong and that is exactly what she needs to get through this difficult time in her life. Her story behind the lose of her arm is horrific. Her ability to speak to Karr was awesome!

Karr is just wow. The fact that no one but Soria can understand his language forces him to ally with her. It was the best decision he makes. They make an awesome team together. Karr is strong, intelligent, and an intense warrior.


The attraction between Soria and Karr builds over the course of the book. It is not the reason for the book but rather a subplot and it happens very naturally. I was almost yelling at the author/book because it wasn’t a major topic or rather the characters chose to ignore it just a wee bit too much for my liking. And there’s only one cool scene with them together sexually. It fit for their situation but it could have been so much better. Too sad.


I enjoyed this book immensely. Mostly because I saw the attraction between the two main characters and wanted to see them together. Plus, their adventure was very cool. Karr was such a sweet and protective alpha male and Soria was strong but not bitchy or overbearing. They were a perfect couple.

Also, this was my first Dirk & Steele novel. I didn’t feel lost or anything so I’m not sure how the series works. I’m guessing they just cover one Dirk & Steele agent at a time.


The cover is AWESOME! The only thing I don’t like is the guy. He’s not strong jawed enough to be Karr. His face is just too round and fleshy. The lion, sand, and the side mountain houses fit perfectly with the subject of the book.

The title? I don’t get it. The FIre King? I don’t remember reading that Karr was a king in his original life. However, after reading the summary on Marjorie’s website he apparently was a king. Interesting.

Connect with Marjorie M. Liu:




Have you read this series before? Are the other books just as good? Better?

Jess Sig



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