An indentured magical assassin just wants a little peace with her chosen family.
Firebug Ava, who can set fires with her mind, has been on the run her whole life. When Ava’s firebug mother became pregnant, she did the unthinkable and fled from the supernatural mob, raising Ava on the road for years, always in hiding. But nobody escapes the Coterie alive, and Ava’s mom was no exception. Orphaned, Ava lives with her mother’s human childhood sweetheart in rural Maine. She’s allowed to stay in Maine only on the condition of her loyalty to Venus, the Coterie’s bloodthirsty vampire leader. Along with her two best friends, also unwilling Coterie employees, Ava’s an unpaid assassin. Ava, Ezra, a werefox, and Lock, a handsome dryad, are Venus’ enforcers, putting down any supernaturals foolish enough to challenge Venus’ power. As long as Ava does the bloody work, she and her loved ones are left alone—but what happens when Venus demands something Ava simply won’t do? Ava’s exhausted despair, her love for her found family and her coldly practical choices are pre-existing conditions, and the moral decisions she makes are surprisingly nuanced.
Deeply enmeshed with a magical world and its impossible choices before readers ever meet her, Ava and her wholly believable despair are a refreshing change from the endless parade of naïve heroines found elsewhere. (Fantasy. 14-16)