Call of Fire (Blood of Earth #2)

by Beth Cato

4.5 stars, actually

Call of Fire picks up where Breath of Earth left off: with Ingrid wounded, Cy care-taking, and Fenris obsessed with the aerial ship, Palmetto Bug. They are fleeing the devastation of San Francisco, and the loss of Chinatown. First stopping in Portland where Cy and Ingrid are separated from Lee and Fenris, and then to Seattle.

We get some answers in this book as to why Ingrid has such a powerful geomantic connection to the earth and to the yokai creatures in the mountains, volcanos and fault lines. We also get some…er…developments on the Cy-Ingrid front culminating in a post-bath scene that was just so darn cute.

There’s lots of elegant description of decidedly non-elegant devastation.

“Debris flecked the dirt street around them. Bits of wood flamed like torches while jagged shards of glass reflected nearby conflagrations like thin puddles of captured flame.”

There’s a war going on between several different factions, the Russians, evil Ambassador Blum’s soldiers, the United Pacific, and the Chinese they are oppressing. Most of the book is pretty much Cy and Ingrid escaping or trying to rescue someone in the midst of devastation/tanks attacking them. At one point, whether they were in Seattle or Portland kind of became meaningless, since I was a bit confused by them constantly escaping. (and going after Sakaguchi and Lee constantly) However, they do it differently each time, and one thing Cato excels at, which is being consistent with the consequences Ingrid endures for each escape and making her pay the cost. I appreciate that.

I also appreciated the way Ingrid and Cy have to navigate their relationship as Ingrid is a person of color. There are real world consequences for what they are allowed to do by society in public, and complications that bring up a variety of racial issues.

I also enjoyed the touches of Japanese culture: legs like udon noodles, moshi moshi to catch a kitsune trickster, authentic Japanese phrases. None of it was distracting or jarring, and none of it seemed thrown in there just for “coolness factor” but functioned as a considered part of the world-building.

Can’t wait to find out what Ingrid will do next now that she’s (possibly temporarily) escaped from Blum, but lost Sakaguchi and Lee, and needs to recuperate.