Review: Mercedes Lackey, Mark Shepherd & Holly Lisle – Wheels of Fire

Wheels of Fire
Mercedes Lackey, Mark Shepherd & Holly Lisle
Al and Bob work as mechanics for a race car driving team. There’s just one catch – Al happens to be a centuries old elf and Bob a human fosterling brought up after being abused by his father. Al has a soft spot for children as it happens, and when he finds out Jamie is missing, he does everything he can to help.

This is one of the few books in this series that is told mainly from the perspective of an elf, Al. I found the extent of this a little disappointing to be honest – I didn’t feel a real connection to Al, and I didn’t feel like there was a real difference in the way he and Jamie thought.
The focus on all of these books seems to be the respect of children. There are some pretty horrifying things going on in this book – starvation and sensory deprivation of children under the age of 10 is not exactly nice. Not to mention torturing them with summoning the ‘Holy Fire’.
I liked Jamie. And you’re not really sure right up until the end whether he is going to survive or not. Joe is a bit of a dark horse, but it’s nice to hear some things from his perspective too. There’s a good balance here again, you don’t feel limited to only Al, yet the transitions are smooth.
The salamander in this novel is one of the few actual strange occurrences – once you get past the fact that there are urban elves. The flashback recounting Al’s previous experiences with salamanders is fascinating, and feels genuine and well researched. As a sometimes writer myself, I appreciate the effort that goes into writing a novel like this. I can’t believe that this book is a collaboration of three writers! It doesn’t come across that way at all, although I would have said that the dominant style would be that of Mercedes Lackey.
This book (the one I’m actually reviewing here, Wheels of Fire) can be found in an omnibus with the next in the series When the Bough Breaks. The novels have been grouped like that because of the authors involved, but the next two reviews I have done of The Chrome Bourne novels actually occur in between.
I’d recommend this book for adults, and mature teenagers. The cult does some very disturbing things that really aren’t for polite company. A warning for drugs, violence and supernatural themes I suppose!

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