“Motherpounder!” That left me speechless! And by speechless, I am talking about Kenya Wright’s sequel to Fire Baptized, The Burning Bush. In this novel, Wright takes readers deeper into the fantasy world of the Santeria Habitat and main character, Lanore Vesta, expanding on the history and relationships of the beings who live there.
Opening with the bombing of the Linderman’s Blood Factory by her organization MFE (Mixbreeds for Equality) and the shapeshifting Rebels, Lanore’s world becomes chaotic once again as she is dragged back into being an amateur detective solving the murders of two women while trying to enact revenge on the Vampire Dante Botteli, who owns the factory, for killing mixbreeds. Trying to solve the murders, Lanore realizes that who she thought was her enemy and who she thought she could trust may not be so true, and that her problems are much bigger than Dante or even the habitat.
Lanore’s character is the brains in the book; she is observant and logical in her thinking even when others around her may be incompetent, particularly the habbie detective Rivera. The second book in the Habitat series shows Wrights ability in fantasy world-building and characterization; she creates a world that is strange and exciting, yet feels familiar. She is great with the imagery (I can picture it as a film) and providing detailed descriptions of the characters and the cities they are from in the habitat. For example, Wright gives us a look into shapeshifters grieving process and their “seasons” (puberty) and the different types of elemental witches and how they look.
We are also introduced to more characters, like Zulu’s (Lanore’s boyfriend) curious sister, Cassie, the next Palero, Angel, and Lanore’s mentally unstable, druggie demon father, Graham, as well as seeing the connection between main characters deepen. The love triangle between Lanore, Zulu, the MFE leader, and Meshack returns. Meshack constantly flirts with Lanore despite her new relationship with Zulu creating tension, but these scenes often provide needed breaks or moments of levity balancing the tragic moments throughout the book that had me almost in tears.
The only issue with the book is that sometimes the sexual scenes can be a bit too much, specifically at the end. I would have preferred a different memory of one of the characters so that it would not have been so striking of a scene and would have given us a different look into the relationship. But then again, that could have been the connecting essence of their relationship. Other than that, Wright has written another strong story and I can’t wait for the next book. By the way, when you read about Graham, I am kind of picturing Keith David as him in a film, if I haven’t made it obvious that I would like to see this as a film.