Review: City in Embers (Collector #1) by Stacey Marie Brown

Book Blurb

Zoey Daniels has been tossed from foster home to foster home, where she grows up fast and tough. When she is placed in her “last-chance” home, she finds a reason to stay and turn her life around: her foster sister, Lexie, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Zoey will do anything to keep her safe. After high school, Zoey is hired by a special government agency, the Department of Molecular Genetics (DMG), where she meets the other reason to remain: Daniel, her co-worker. The man she loves.

But there is something unique about Zoey. She can see fae. Because of this, the DMG hires her to work as a Collector: catching, researching, testing, and using the fae to save human lives. The work never registers on her sympathy radar. She was raised to think of fae as beasts that feed on humans and want to destroy them.

When devastation hits Seattle, Zoey's whole world is turned upside down. The electric storm connects her to a ruthless fae, a Wanderer named Ryker, whose dealings expose them to even more trouble and danger. They embark on a journey, running and hiding from both the government and fae, both of which threaten their lives and those they love.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Zoey Daniels is a collector for a secret government department (DMG) that catches Fae and studies them.  She is a seer.  She has the ability to see passed the glamour Fae use.  She and her partner Daniel Holt make a good team even though there is a twenty year age difference.  Despite that age difference, Zoey is head over heels in love with her partner.  He has kept their relationship plutonic because of that age difference.  Zoey knows her feelings will never change.  Her sister Lexie constantly teases her about him.  She is determined to change his mind.
One night while on patrol Zoey and Daniel stumble upon a confrontation between two groups of Fae.  Zoey and Daniel listen to the exchange until they are discovered.  Once that happens everything goes wrong.  Daniel battles against a Fae and loses.  A giant lightning bolt strikes the Needle.  The city of Seattle lies in ruin.  Daniel is gone and Zoey is left with a Fae named Ryker.  He believes she has something of his.  Zoey, at first, runs from him but she realizes she has lost everything and has become the enemy in the eyes of her DMG teammates.
Secrets have been kept and Daniel has sent her on a hunt for the truth.  She, Ryker and a sprite named Sprig work together to stay ahead of the DMG and the group of Fae lead by Garrett.  Zoey and Ryker have to learn to work together and trust each other even though they are enemies.
I really like this author. I’ve read her Darkness series and was excited to see this first book in a different series.  It is a spin off from the Darkness series after the devastation of Seattle with a new female character.  Zoey is a great character.  She is strong, smart and sassy.  She knows what she wants and she refuses to apologize for it.  I loved her instantly and got in her corner.
The storyline turns a different corner pretty fast.  Zoey lost a lot not long after the story started.  I like the way she has to reevaluate what she believes and how she feels.  She has to partner up with the “enemy” to stay alive.  The author leads her down the path of finding the truth.  Fae may not be as bad as she was lead to believe.

The journey she and Ryker take is full of danger and secrets.  Zoey finds out more about her life and gets some shocking information.  She and Ryker grow closer and learn to trust each other.  This first book really draws you in and builds the lead into the second book.  It was an excellent read.  I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

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