⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 out of 5 stars
What a seriously fun romp! I truly enjoyed this book, cover to cover (metaphorically speaking, of course).
Playing With Fire introduces us to Renee and Stone, a pair of ‘independent contractors’ in a shady world of thieves, grifters and hackers. But they’re not typical thieves. In their world, the best contractors have Talent; the ability to control elements such as fire, water, or the ether. Some have the ability to shape shift. Yes! Please sir, may I have some more?
At the start of the story, Renee and Stone are strangers, hired to join a crew for a single job then fly their separate ways. Over the next few years, Renee and Stone find their orbits intersecting again and again. I really liked this build up in their relationship. They pass like ships in the night, drawing a little closer to one another each time until they, eventually, realize they make a perfect team. I applaud Cris and Clare for their approach to Renee and Stone’s relationship. It would’ve been easy to simply slam the characters together in a flashy way, but their gradual build up of trust, respect, and need for the other made their relationship much more believable. It wouldn’t be in the nature of a professional thief to trust too quickly!
After our wonder-duo realize their happy place is at the other’s side, the rest of the story centers on a heist meant to liberate a certain magical artifact from an old nemesis. The opportunity for revenge it too good to pass up, even if it means working for a woman they know they cannot trust. The rest of their crew on this job is a motley collection of shape shifters: a coyote, a cat, and a crow. I positively loved these supporting characters! Carlos, the young rookie, was my favorite. But Grace (the grifter) was awesome too! Even Rook (the hacker), despite his annoying bravado, grew on me.
The writing was well-paced with a tight plot. I have to add that I appreciated the fact that although magic could’ve been used to get our characters out of any number of tight spots, it was moderated nicely.
Playing With Fire is the first book in a series, however it ends on a nice point. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but just enough to leave you hungry for the next book. And trust me, I’m hungry!
Interested? Pick up your copy HERE. You won’t be sorry!