Review: Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby

Smoke Eaters

Firefighter Cole Brannigan is on the verge of retirement after 30 years on the job, and a decade fighting dragons. But during his final fire call, he discovers he’s immune to dragon smoke. It’s such a rare power that he’s immediately conscripted into the elite dragon-fighting force known as the Smoke Eaters. Retirement cancelled, Brannigan is re-assigned as a lowly rookie, chafing under his superiors. So when he discovers a plot to take over the city’s government, he takes matters into his own hands. With hundreds of innocent civilians in the crosshairs, it’s up to Brannigan and his fellow Smoke Eaters to repel the dragon menace.

Dragons, fire fighters, robotic dogs, cool future tech and good world building. Smoke Eaters has all of these and more. Sean Grigsby’s fire fighting background shows in the descriptions of the fires being tackled throughout the story which makes the whole thing really come to life.

I enjoyed the story – dragons having returned to Earth, burrowing up from underground creating mayhem in their wake with the newly created Smoke Eaters department of the fire service the only ones standing in their way. And boy do the Smoke Eaters have some excellent tools at their disposal, laser swords, foam shooters and magic blue healing gel to name a few.

Our main protagonist is Cole Brannigan, long time fire fighter who in his last week before retirement is forced by circumstances to enter a burning house where a Dragon has just emerged. A stunned Cole finds he has hat it takes to be a Smoke Eater and is immediately co-opted by the department throwing this experienced fire fighter back in at rookie level.

In some places the dialogue was a bit clunky with our 60 year old protagonist sounding more like a 15 year old boy. There were also a few moments of casual sexism that were a little uncomfortable to read, and jarring as most of the time Cole took orders from women with no issues and there were plenty of kick ass female characters to be found in this book.

Overall an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing how this author develops in the future.

With thanks to Netgalley and Angry Robot for a review copy.