Sunday, March 25, 2012

Winter of fire by Sherryl Jordan

Elsha lives in a harsh and unforgiven world, where the Quelled slave away in the mines to dig out the precious firestone that keeps them all alive.  Over their whole lives rule the Chosen, the blessed race that keeps the Quelled in line, branding them when they are children, choosing whom they marry, and choosing how they live.  It is a bleak existence for Elsha who is not only Quelled, but also harsha (a female Quelled). 

She has her secret dreams and rebellions, and the Chosen know she is a troublemaker, but on her 16th birthday she decides to take some time for herself and finds herself on the path to a new future.  She is taken from her old life and thrust into a new life where nothing is as it seems, and even though she should be one of the highest and most favoured people in the land, her Quelled past keeps her from finding an easy peace with herself or her new life.

This book is nearly 20 years old, but it has a time less quality that makes it one of those books that I re-read every couple of years.  Set in the Earth's future, Winter of fire sits nicely with the current trend of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels.  Elsha is a wonderful character and at times it seems as though she carries the weight of her entire people on her shoulders, not only because of who she is personally, but also because of what she becomes. 

Her world is well imagined and could be set anywhere on Earth, and if you didn't know that the book was by a New Zealand author you could just as easily imagine that the book was set in Australia, America, Britain, or Europe.  The characters are what make this book so powerful, the landscape becomes a background of no real interest.  This was an enjoyable read, even after several re-readings over the years, and it reminded me of some of the other favourites I have which I might start re-reading as well.

If you like this book then try:
  • The Halfmen of O by Maurice Gee
  • Alanna the first adventure by Tamora Pierce
  • Crown duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Dragons blood by Jane Yolen
  • Sister light, sister dark by Jane Yolen
  • Dealing with dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Reviewed by Brilla

1 comment:

  1. One of the best books I've ever read. I wish it was known more.
    Wonderful characters, rich descriptions, and realistic make-up. I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy with a dash of post-apocalyptic fiction for good measure.