Katie MacAlister is known for her "Aisling Grey, Guardian," an enjoyable if at times over-the-top group of books. Playing with Fire is the start of a new series,
"Silver Dragons," although most of the characters are familiar from the other series.
Readers new to this author might find themselves rather lost because of the large cast of characters, many of whom are barely introduced, and the continual references to events that have happened in the Aisling Grey books.
This book starts out with our heroine, May Northcott, in the middle of an attempt to steal an artifact.
A thief who has to work at the bidding of her master, the demon Magoth, May has some rather unusual characteristics: she's a doppelganger, created from her sister Cyrene but with the ability to almost disappear, to 'shadow walk.' Doppelgangers are very rare, so few know much about them and their abilities
- thus May's success as a thief. However, when May steals the requested artifact, she also takes something else, something very valuable, which
leads to a whole host of problems. May quickly has a price on her head and decides to return the extra item. In doing so, she runs into a bunch of strange people including the dragon Drake, Aisling Grey, the demon dog Jim, and another dragon, Gabriel Tauhou, leader of the Silver Dragons.
When Gabriel discovers that May is his mate, he doesn't realize what her being bound to the demon Magoth means. As they try to work out who has stolen an artifact, as they have to rescue various members of their group who are kidnapped, and as old Dragon politics seem to be coming back to haunt them, Gabriel and May have to see what they can build together despite May's fears about Magoth. Gabriel might also have to choose what is more important to him - May or his band of dragons.
This was one of those stories where it's never clear where the plot is going, but the ride is enjoyable. The variety of characters adds to this book, although as previously mentioned they could also be a problem for new readers. May is an interesting heroine with some un-heroic moments, a ridiculous sister, and a sinister yet slightly laughable demon master.
A big disappointment to this reader is that there isn't any great resolution. Many of the plot threads
aren't wrapped up, and a major element of the main story isn't completed. It's clearly a precursor to the next book, but this reader would have appreciated more of a close to this particular novel.