After Dante Bottelli’s slaughter of Vamp-owned Mixbreeds, Lanore and Zulu execute a well-planned attack that hits Dante where it hurts the most—his pockets. But their attack triggers a chain of unfortunate events, and allows Detective Rivera to blackmail Lanore.
Rivera forces Lanore to investigate his case, the Burning Bush Murders. Someone’s been tying girls to bushes and setting them on fire. Lanore must find the killer, or Rivera goes public with his information.
Meanwhile, Dante won’t take his defeat without a fight. He counterattacks and the Santeria habitat, as well as Lanore’s and Zulu’s lives, are changed forever.
I read the outstanding Fire Baptized, the first book in the Habitat series, back at the beginning of the year. I was impressed by Wright’s ability to weave both mystery and supernatural genre so effortlessly together and was also captivated by the lore and mythology of the world she created. The second book builds on top of this strong foundation and introduces the reader to even more of Santeria’s history. What I also liked are the inequalities and struggles of the mixbreeds are brought to the forefront and are now a focal point of the story.
The Burning Bush begins shortly after the events in Fire Baptized and Lanore is once again caught up in a murder investigation. This time, Detective Rivera has charged her to look into the death of a rich girl who was found stuck to a burning bush in the the middle of the police station forecourt. Little did she know her investigation would dig up the sordid past of one of the most powerful Supenaturals in Santeria. To make matters worse, her relationships with Zulu and Meshack are getting even more complicated and there are elements within the Rebels who want to see her dead.
This was another good read. I really like how Wright incorporates the theme of inequality into her stories. In her world, the Supernaturals lost a war with the humans and are left to live in caged cities known as Habitats. However not all Supernaturals are equal and the lowest of them all are the Mixbreeds who are born without any power and are used as playthings by everyone. The Mixbreeds are looked down upon and deemed not able to achieve anything in their life. When they do work, they have to take on the most unpleasant jobs that no one else would do. No one in the society cares for Mixbreeds except for Lanore, Zulu and their MFE who are demanding fair treatment for the Mixies.
The plot is just as strong as before with a good mystery to keep you hooked from beginning to the end. More of Santeria’s background is revealed in the story but you never felt overwhelmed as Wright perfectly balances the pace of the book with just the right amount of world building. The introduction of Zulu’s half-sister Cassie was a good choice as her character brings a playfulness to the story and offsets some of the grimness of the world.
The only thing that I thought was a little too much was the romance in this book. In Fire Baptized, the book is primarily urban fantasy with a dash of romance but in The Burning Bush, the love triangle just got way out of hand at times.
All in all, The Burning Bush is a solid follow up to the Habitat series. If you enjoyed the first book then you would not be disappointed by this. It’s always a pleasure to read a story where the author has obviously invested much time and effort in creating a world with rich, diverse background and history. I look forward to reading the next chapter in the Habitat series.
Other books in the series