Review: Ash Kickers (Smoke Eaters #2) by Sean Grigsby

Rating: ★★★★☆+


Dragons vs Firefighters vs the Phoenix. The scorching fantasy sequel to Smoke Eaters.

With ex-firefighter Cole Brannigan in command of the Smoke Eaters, the dragon menace is under control. Thanks to non-lethal Canadian tech, the beasts are tranquilized and locked up, rather than killed. But for Tamerica Williams, this job filled with action and danger, has become tediously routine.

When a new threat emerges, a legendary bird of fire – the Phoenix – it’s the perfect task for Williams. But killing the Phoenix just brings it back stronger, spreading fire like a plague and whipping dragons into a frenzy. Will it prove to be too much excitement, even for adrenalin-junkie Williams?


Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of Ash Kickers (Smoke Eaters #2) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this e-ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

You ever feel like you just need a fun, easy read? One that doesn’t take a whole lot of concentration or require the ability to remember 500 names of people, places, objects… A read where you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the hell out of it? That is exactly what the Smoke Eaters series is like: a fast-paced, no holds barred romp that instantaneously grabs your attention and keeps it in its talons. An ingenious premise that I am amazed hasn’t been thought of before. The 368 pages flew by in the matter of hours. It was that good.

Ash Kickers is exactly what I wish for in every single sequel: an engaging read that tops its predecessor; really ups the ante, gets the juices flowing. How in the world can you not love a book that has firefighters vs dragons, laser weapons galore, AND A FREAKING PHOENIX. Constant action, fire-breathing monstrosities, characters that curse like sailors, YOU NAME IT.

Though books like these don’t normally have lasting characters, Brannigan still holds a place in my heart after his story in Book 1. It was great seeing his role, though diminished, in Book 2 and I still enjoy the heck out of his demeanor. I also can’t remember if Book 1 had one or not, but Book 2 left a heck of a cliffhanger, so one can only imagine what is in store for Book 3.

I’m not really sure why this series hasn’t received more hype. Angry Robot and Grigsby are sitting on something that I believe would make a hell of a movie franchise, let alone books that should be selling way more than they are. Sure, there are tons of books out there, but not so many give me this level of entertainment. It is absolutely mental in the best way possible.

Read Smoke Eaters? What’re you waiting for?
Haven’t checked out Smoke Eaters? Get on the hype train.
Want to know what it compares to? Well, nothing really. I would say people who enjoy books in the military sci-fi or urban fantasy genres will find tons to love.

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