Book Review: Playing with Fire


The last 2 Seasons of True Blood only messier

Well this has to be the gosh-darn weirdest book I can remember reading in some time, and yet I didn’t hate it.

I feel like this book must be experienced to be believed. I’m honestly not sure how to properly describe what is going on here. It’s like if you took every single Supernatural creature, chucked them all in a book with a human(ish) protagonist, shrugged and went “figure it out.” I should hate this book because there’s soooo much going on it’s impossible to keep things straight, but I don’t. It’s oddly compelling and fun despite it’s shortcomings.

Bailey is a human barista working in a coffee house for supernatural creatures that slings pixie dust with every order. After someone tries to murder her in her apartment using gorgon dust (which is basically supernatural Anthrax) she sets off on a series of adventures to figure out why someone wants her dead and who will help her. Luckily her big crush is also the police chief but Bailey informed him of his wife cheating on him, and she’s pretty positive he wants nothing to do with her. However we all know this is a romance novel so they’re going to get together at some point. Throw in an angry ex wife, some gorgons, angels, incubus, centaurs and oh yeah, she can somehow turn into a unicorn(?!) and you have a formula for an over the top supernatural romance.

Playing with Fire has barely a plot, some very annoying stylistic choices regarding unicorn dialog, and a lot of talk about banging (though the author never actually writes a sex scene). If you’re not here for having to write out a family tree including gorgons, angels, humans and incubus’s in order to understand the second half of the book, move on right now. If you’re down for weird shit, give it a try. Sure there’s lots of issues with the book including the fact that there isn’t much of a central plot or story to actually follow, but the characters are so strange and likeable it really didn’t matter much to me. Perky is the best. The dialog is snippy and funny, and even if it’s overwhelming, the book is never boring. It moves along with one odd situation after another, so I never wanted to chuck it across the room or fall asleep.

It’s not the best written book I’ve read in the genre, but it isn’t bad in the slightest. The covers for this series are GORGEOUS for being small press/self published, and if I saw it on a shelf I likely would have grabbed it and checked it out based on that alone. In terms of technical writing it’s probably a 2 but in terms of fun and joy, it’s a 5 from me. I’d rather read this than most literary, depressing fiction any day, so in that aspect it’s a winner. 3.5 stars.

Title: Playing with Fire
Author: RJ Blain
Format: Paperback
Pages: 264
ISBN: 9781949740004

Three Descriptors: Quirky,  Witty, Overwhelming,

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