September 14, 2022

REVIEW Harmony of Fire (Alice and Owen Book 1) by Brian Feehan

Harmony of Fire (Alice and Owen Book 1) by Brian Feehan
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Format: Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Berkley 

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Brian Feehan's debut paranormal romance and suspense book, Harmony of Fire, is an action-packed tale filled with a unique 'magic system', innovative worldbuilding and lore, and a slow-burn romance. 

In the world of Harmony of Fire, the "We" are beings that have been around since the dawn of time. Varying in power level, they are divine beings that were forced to pick a side when Heaven and Hell went to war. Once on Earth, they often seek out Etherialists, those who can give them a taste of what they've lost. The story follows the perspectives of two such Etherialists, Alice and Owen. Alice is a hunter, forcefully bonded to the cruel We Kerogen as a young child, and has grown up determined to end his life, no matter the cost. Owen, on the other hand, is a Gatekeeper, able to access the gates of Heaven and Hell. He travels with a band of fellow Etherialists, and they all perform together whenever the power build-up gets too much. Once Alice and Owen meet, the chemistry is electric but they must sever the bond holding Alice captive if they ever hope to have a life together. 

My initial thoughts were that this would be a take on the idea of fallen angels, but that wasn't quite the case. The 'We' are divine beings (not necessarily angels or demons) who were forced to pick sides when Heaven and Hell clashed. Many came to the mortal realm, and Etherialists are the only way to get a taste of what's now lost to them. In particular, I enjoyed learning about the magic system of the 'We' and how they are categorized by power levels. I also enjoyed seeing Owen's group using music as a way to control their power. My only complaint with worldbuilding is that there was a bit of an info dump at the start of the book; I always prefer to learn things over the course of reading rather than upfront (though I do understand the desire to provide initial background). 

The romance in this book is interesting. Alice and Owen don't even meet till halfway through the book. The reversal of stereotypical roles, with Alice being the battle-hardened warrior and Owen a gentle protector only resorting to violence as a last resort, made for an interesting dynamic in their relationship. While it is a slow-burn romance, they do have some moments that were fun to read (so no worries about long building tension and an extended wait). I believe the next book is set as a direct sequel to Harmony of Fire, so I'm curious to see how their relationship will continue to develop in the future.  

As a side note, given that this book was marketed so heavily as “written by the son of legendary writer Christine Feehan” and it is similar in genre to what she writes, I did have some issues reminding myself that this is completely separate from her published novels. It’s obvious after reading this book that writing talent runs in the family, but that’s the extent of things (they have very different styles of writing) and it took a conscious effort not to compare them too much. 

Overall, Harmony of Fire was an engaging and entertaining paranormal romance debut from Brian Feehan; the writing flowed well and lends itself to an immersive storyline. Narrator Will Peters delivered a solid performance that helped enhance the suspense aspect of the book. My curiosity has been piqued for the next book, and I’ll definitely be checking it out to see what’s next for Alice and Owen. If you are a fan of Christine Feehan’s books or you simply enjoy books that cross the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres, then Harmony of Fire would be a great choice for your next read.     

About the Book
The riveting first novel in a brand-new paranormal romance series by debut author Brian Feehan, son of legendary #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

The We--beings who existed long before humans ever did, filled with powerful magic--walk among us. Owen and Alice are both etherealists--rare humans born with magic who are targets for those We that wish to take it from them. At nine years old and against her will, Alice's soul was tied to one such powerful and evil We. She escaped and was trained to be a weapon so she might one day break the bond and safely return home. Everything is going to plan...until she meets Owen.

Owen is a musician who is trying to outrun his past while keeping those around him safe in an increasingly dangerous world. Owen keeps them on the move until a band of hunters crosses their path. Owen must go home--a place he swore he'd never return to--and seek protection from the We who could destroy them. And then he meets Alice. Only through finding each other do either Alice or Owen have a chance of survival.

About the Author

Brian Feehan is a 2nd generation author, son to #1 New York Times Bestselling author Christine Feehan. He lives in a small coastal town in Mendocino County Ca with his son and the love of his life Michelle. He loves spending time with family, playing tennis, cooking, reading, and of course writing.

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