Wednesday, October 14, 2009

REVIEW: Daughter of the Flames

Marriott, Z. (2009) Daughter of the Flames

342 pages – 9780763637491

Thirty Second Summary: Fifteen-year-old Zira has lived her entire life in a secluded abbey learning the skills of a warrior priestess. But when the abbey is attacked and destroyed, Zira must abruptly come face to face with her past… and what she learns will determine her entire future.

In Daughter, we’re treated to a plucky orphan-cum-queen, martial arts, traitors, poisoning, intrigue, and the most elaborate wedding gown ever. There’s also enough fluffy romance to keep any girl happy, as long as she's not squicked out by a sixteen-year-old marrying a man in his mid- to late-twenties. The man in question, Sorin, has “golden blue” eyes the color of peacock feathers, “long silver-blond hair” that occasionally falls around and frames his face, and a warrior’s trained prowess. Yes please.

Congrats to Zoe Marriott, who obviously has done her research into building a realistic fantasy world. You’ll think she actually travelled to a mountain-top abbey filled with ninja-like monks, and spent laborious hours researching the native culture there. The details of the various castes are a little confusing, but are at least used consistently and fairly understandably. I never once, throughout the course of the novel, found myself questioning Zira’s reality.

Daughter is also a book of Janus-like doubles. Zira is Zihara – a novice warrior and queen of an entire nation. Sorin is strong and confident, until he must deal with crippling infirmities. King Abheron is a child murderer, who laughs with joy as he feeds wild deer by hand. No one will ever accuse the novel of being straight-forward, but the twisting paths the characters take only serve to make the conclusion more satisfying.

Be prepared, though -- occasionally the book reads like a very depressing fortune cookie. Some of the better gems:

  • “There are always a million and one things wrong. Really, life is only a series of interconnected disasters. Each one pushes us forward to the next.” (P. 61)
  • No one should know exactly who they are. It is terrifying. And I have to live with it, for the rest of my life. (p. 201)
  • “You’re young yet,” he said with a touch of weariness. “You will learn, as you get older, that destiny is a crashing tide. It picks us up, carries us away. No matter how we struggle and fight, there is no escaping it.” (p. 251)

On the other hand, did I mention the golden-blue-eyed prince o’ hotness? He’ll cheer you up.

Quotes of Note:

No living being deserved to die like that---in the choking smoke and flames. No living being, not even a Sedorne. (P. 51)

Before my horrified eyes, Mira began to lower herself to her knees; others in the crowd swiftly followed suit.
“Stop that!” I cried, leaping down from the pile of stones. “For God’ sake, Mira, you’re pregnant.” I grabbed her before her knees could touch the ground and pulled her back up.
(p. 108)

At the last instant, cowardice overwhelmed me. My eyes snapped shut. I heard a hollow thwack, and gagged. One of the female guests screamed. I opened my eyes to see the executioner toppling back, an arrow protruding from the gap in his armor between neck and helmet. (p. 290)

Tasty Rating: !!!!

If you thought this was delicious, try:

Fire by Kristin Cashore

In case you need more fiery (ha, pun!) heroines, check out this book – and if you like it, it’s the prequel to the equally entertaining Graceling.


  1. Oh, hey, I just found your blog through Nathan Bransford's comment trail (I liked Shel's opening paragraph a lot :D) and I've skimmed through the reviews here and this blog looks awesome. B-) I'm definitely adding it to the reader.


  2. Wow! Compliments about my writing AND the blog. Thanks so much!

    On an unrelated note, are you, by chance, looking for a new best friend?

  3. Now, Shel, don't go trying to steal *my* new best friend....

  4. LOL! What, we can't share? O:)

  5. Nope! I'm going to insist upon a tug of war EPIC battle.

    The playground. By the swings. Noon!

    Winner gets a new best friend. Loser pays the medical bills.



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