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Review: As Fire Rains Down – Toni Griffin

As Fire Rains Down - Toni Griffin

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon | Publisher

About The Book

As fire rains down on the forest, Luke finds a hurt but powerful demigod in its wake— the kind of shifter that should only exist in legend.

Forest fires around California have got everyone working overtime. Between Luke’s volunteer rescue efforts as the fires rage and his keeping up with regular police duties in his sleepy hometown of Half Moon Bay, he’s barely had time to eat, let alone catch some shut-eye. It doesn’t help that some out-of-towners have been pressing locals to sell up because they want to turn the little oasis into a hopping tourist destination.

Half Moon Bay is a place of sanctuary for shifters like Luke, with most of the town being descended from one kind or another. It’s an open secret among the locals. One they’re willing to fight to protect.

But the newest flames cutting a path toward town rage hotter and fiercer than normal forest fires. Something isn’t right. Finding an overpowered elk shifter in the forest as it burns down around him causes Luke even more confusion—everyone knows those kinds of shifters exist only in legend. The questions raised keep jumping the firebreaks, especially when a dark presence falls on the town and homes start burning.

This book contains shapeshifters of all kinds, a prophecy nobody wanted, discussions about mental health issues, rude gods with no patience left, and a mate with a history of running from relationships but ultimately learns he’s worth loving.

The Review

In California, there’s a small community of Half Moon Bay, surrounded by redwood forests. The small town attracts many tourists, who inquire frequently about buying property there, but are not welcomed by many of its citizens. Half Moon Bay is also on the cusp of being evacuated, as there’s been no rain, it’s very dry, and fires are encroaching from everywhere.

Officer Luke Graves and his best friend, Officer Wren, are constantly on the front lines and volunteer to go into the forests during this dangerous time. They are both very special in their own way. They are members of the Yurok, the local Indigenous tribe. Wren believes that the god Wohpekumeu, who gave humanity the land and water, has been  angered with the way humans have treated the earth, and that the fires are a test of worthiness. Half Moon Bay is Luke’s home. and it saddens him to see the dangers that the fires have brought, threatening the town he loves.

Under the orders of Chief Santos, Luke and Wren are ready to go into different camp grounds that are close to the fire, to make sure there are no civilians left. When Wren checks in with Luke, they think that they have cleared all the people out and are ready to return to town. On his way back, Luke senses that somethings not right. Looking around, he finds an injured white elk – not normal in those parts. Using his shapeshifting ability, he helps the elk to shift and rescues him. Luke doesn’t know what to do, so he takes the elk shifter home and doesn’t tell anyone, not even his best friend Wren.

There’s something about this elk shapeshifter that’s very special, and Luke isn’t excepting any of it. He thinks the white elk is delusional and has a mental illness because, white elks don’t exist along with gods and demigod. They are things of legends, and many of the shifters have stopped believing in the old magic. Even with the ability to shift into a lynx, Luke doesn’t believe in witches, magic and demigods.

What he feel he should do will definitely bring trouble from the Yurok Tribe. Wren is frustrated and angry with Luke, and their friendship is waning. Luke also carries guilt from his past that has caused him to lose his self confidence, taking a toll on him. 

Ollie – the white elk – has been sent by Wohpekumeu, but he can’t remember exactly why. He knows that Luke is very special to him, and it hurts to have Luke rejecting him and fighting with him all the time. Will Ollie ever remember exactly why he was sent to earth?  

While the fires of the forest continue to menace this small community, something else threatens it too.  Who will be able to save this extraordinary and magical community?  

Griffin builds a fascinating story of the beliefs, traditions, legends, lores and and prophecies of the Yurok Indian Tribe, a world of shape shifters that have to keep their identities secret because they live among humans and deal with tourists that could cause problems by exposing them. It’s a tale of gods, demigods, witches and magic that many don’t believe exist.

The story also brings up a true historical event: the Yontoket Massacre that was a part of the California Indian Wars.

As Fire Rains Down is filled with suspense and danger, along with many emotional and dramatic moments, humor and love. Luke struggles to heal, accept himself, and release the guilt he’s felt for so long due to his past.

Besides Luke and Wren, there are many other brave characters helping to fight the fires to save their small community: Chief Santos, Fire Marshall Patty, EMT Harvey, Shawn, Phil, Ander, Tena, Virginia, Josh and Marissa. I liked Elias and Marie, who have historical records of the Yurok, old magic and eye-opening information. And the towns people: Ito, John, Everett and Rebecca who work at the local eating establishment.

I loved this book. It’s an excellent tale about different types of gods, shifters and lore. I’m hoping that Griffin has a second book in the works because there are still some unknowns by the end of this first novel. Worth the read!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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