by Sean Grigsby
Urban Fantasy? Dystopia?
Published March 2018
Oh this was AWESOME. With the exception of the main character’s name (Cole Brannigan) making me think of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama ALL THE TIME, this was a great read. The book is actually set in the near future of Earth – sometime after “E-Day” which they never actually said what the “E” stood for, but maybe Emergence Day? Because that was the day the dragons burrowed up from the earth and started destroying everything. (They referred to a song popular in the 80s as “ancient music”!) There’s some new technology – androids are getting popular, robot dogs are common, and the Smoke Eaters have laser swords and laser cannons for taking down dragons. But firefighting is still mostly the same.
Not-Zapp Brannigan is about to retire when his (regular) fire fighting team unexpectedly encounters a dragon. Normally, normal fire fighters don’t go in until the Smoke Eaters have taken out the dragon, but they didn’t realize there was a dragon here until far too late. During the fight, Brannigan loses his oxygen mask and discovers he can breathe in the thick smoke and be fine. He’s a literal Smoke Eater. When the actual Smoke Eaters arrive and discover him, he’s shanghaied into joining up.
The book covers Brannigan’s Smoke Eater training, what little of it he gets, and the trouble he gets into being on the Mayor’s bad side. We get to see several different types of dragons, and also see how the experience of many years of fighting normal fires helps with dragon-fighting strategy. There’s some theories on the dragons – where they came from, how they reproduce, how best to fight them.
Most of the book takes place in Ohio, but they take a jaunt to Canada and – well Canada’s gone VERY WEIRD.
This book was great, and a fun ride start to finish. I hope he writes more in this world, though the book is a perfectly fine standalone.
From the cover of Smoke Eaters:
When dragons rise from the earth, firefighters are humanity’s last line of defense, in this wild near-future fantasy.
Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters.
Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.
Huh, I’d never heard of this book before you used it for your Friday 56. I don’t generally read fantasy, but this definitely sounds different from your typical offerings from the genre. My sister Patricia is an avid read and loves dragons and fantasy, do you think this book would be generally appropriate for a 14-year-old girl or do you think there’s too much sex/violence?
I was definitely reading worse books at 14, lol. There’s a decent amount of swearing, and several people die, but I’d have enjoyed it at 14. That’s up to you!
Are there any sex scenes? Because my sister has a big hang-up with sexual content in books. She won’t even read YA books in case there’s anything sexual in them. 😛
I’m pretty sure there was at least one, but I don’t remember it being graphic. It was just like “Man comes home from being gone for a while and drags his wife into bed” kinda thing. Well. It was a mutual dragging, lol.
Well, I’ll ask my sister if it’s something she might like to read, she’s a big fantasy novel enthusiast. It’s just hard to pick out books for her because she’s kind of a prude. 🙂