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Shiva's Fire

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,436 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
Newbery Honor author Suzanne Fisher Staples turns to India for her newest novel, published to starred reviews, about a young girl whose destiny calls her to dance.
Paperback, 276 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published January 1st 2000)
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This is an Indian story, a magical story, about a girl named Parvati who is born with the fire of music inside her. As she grows, the strangest things seem to happen in her presence and soon it is clear that her heart is full of the dance - classical Indian dance and her destiny leads her to a school that can develop her talents.

I always appreciate books that will educate me, introduce me to a world I'm unacquainted with - and while I've read books about India before, the nuances of Indian dance
This story has sooo much potential, and I was very eager to read it. The cover art is gorgeous and it sounded like my cup of tea ;-) Richly described South Indian setting. Check! Protagonist who loves dancing. Check! Some insights into facets of Hindu religion. Check! Hints of romance. Check! So, why only three stars...?

Because, ultimately, I don't feel the story delivered. I never really cared that much for the characters. And I felt a bit cheated because the blurb on the back cover really only
Nov 08, 2007 payasa213 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: T33Nz
Shiva's Fire by Suzzanne Fisher Staples is Fiction.It is told in 3rd person.Parvati is the main character who is very gifted in dance.DANCE IS HER DESTINY. On a day when fish leap among the stars and birds soar beneath the waters, a remarkable girl named Parvati is born in a village in the South of India. Born the day her father died, the same day a cyclone devastated her region of India, Parvati is often blamed by her neighbors for their bad luck. She struggles to understand herself because sh ...more
Mar 13, 2008 Linnae rated it it was ok
I picked this up expecting the riveting characters and conflict of Staples' other books (Shabanu, for example.) I was disappointed. The cultural descriptions were engaging, but there was no conflict to make it live. As various situations unfolded, I kept thinking, "Ah, here we go. Now something's going to happen." No such luck. Any possible conflict either resolved on its own, or became a non-issue. One example: the girls at the school of dance are jealous of Parvati's talent, so she avoids them ...more
Radha Sukhu
Sep 16, 2011 Radha Sukhu rated it it was amazing
Although Shiva’s Fire is geared for young adults, I found this book to be very intriguing. It explores the Indian culture and caste system, and how it affects the people who live there. Although some may say there is no conflict, the major conflict is about Parvati having to choose between the people she loves and what she was born to do – dance. Religion is also explored in this book, especially because Parvati thinks that Lord Shiva gave her life for the sole purpose of dancing. The novel’s ma ...more
Apr 25, 2013 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: ls-583
Name: Danielle Autumn Shur
Staples, S.F. (2000). Shiva’s Fire. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
Genre: Multicultural
Format: Print
Selection Process: NoveList
Every year on the first day of the monsoon season the people of Nandipuram gather at the palace for food and dancing in celebration of the Maharaja’s birthday. On this special day two babies were born; the Maharaja’s son, Rama and a special girl in the village named Parvati. On the night of Parvati’s birth a vicious cyclone raged
Aug 15, 2011 Maria rated it liked it
Parvati is not like other children, her penetrating gaze ability to speak with animals unnerves those around her and she becomes a scapegoat of her village from the day she is born. Parvati is hurt by the actions of her elders and peers, but she escapes from their disapproval by immersing her self at dance - a skill she performs with the utmost natural ability and talent. Her actions do not go unnoticed and she is recruited to leave her family and become a devadasi, a chaste performing artist ma ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Carly rated it liked it
After reading shabanu by the same author I decided to read Shiva's fire because I really enjoyed shabanu. I ended up liking Shiva's fire a lot too! Shiva's fire is about an Indian girl who is very talented at traditional Indian dance. She is selected at a young age to leave her family and her village to attend a school that focuses on grooming girls into traditional India dancers whom entertain the upper class(mainly men). The story leads us to believe that Pavarati life is very much influenced ...more
Pia S.
Dec 30, 2010 Pia S. rated it liked it
This book touches a lot on destiny, telling the story of Parvati and her destiny to become a dancer. The message of being yourself no matter what is held up well by a strong but believable main character. Although Parvati and a few of the lead characters were created superbly, most of the other supporting roles were one-dimensional. Auntie could not even bring herself to change her views on Parvati, and all of the characters could fit some sort of cliche. Other than that, the view on destiny is ...more
Shivanee Ramlochan
Oct 29, 2013 Shivanee Ramlochan rated it liked it
(I can remember so little about this book that I feel compelled to add this in parentheses. I have vague images of courtyard terraces and celestial-terrestrial conflicts. I might owe this a reread.)
Amy Forrester
Mar 04, 2013 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
Parvati has been singled out as different and possibly dangerous by the villagers of Anandanagar in Nandipuram in southern India. Parvati was born on the first day of the terrible cyclone that took the lives of many and devastated all of Nandipuram. The villagers blame her for this horrible event and to make it worse Parvati has extraordinary abilities that are seen as unnatural by those in her community. Animals gravitate toward her, from the fish in the river to the birds in the sky, and when ...more
Alright, so, this is a very generous 3 stars.

(view spoiler)
Feb 04, 2015 Alethia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was... magical. I can just imagine, her spongey bone marrow soaking up any and all music as a child. It would reside within her, vibrations that lasted as long as her lifetime. She carried this flutter inside her and it was her dharma. There are many things in life though, and it's always hard to know which to choose. She found something that rivalled her musical marrow, and her world stopped. Should she be selfish and runaway with him? Or would she stay, being alone all her life, but continu ...more
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This book takes place in India around the 1980's. It's a story of a girl born during a terrible calamity in her village and her being blamed for what goes wrong by the villagers. The girl is Parvati and her main interest in life is dancing.

However, she also seems to have almost supernatural abilities, being able to get along with animals to an uncanny degree and able to see a statue dancing.

As she grows up she and her mother face more and more discrimination, not only from the villagers but from
The chimp logic
Mar 13, 2014 The chimp logic rated it liked it

Shiva is the almighty god who destroy the world in order to rebuilt it. Nataraja is another name for lord Shiva. Nataraja means king (raja) of dance (natahanam). In hindu mythology parvathy is sakti the most powerful woman in the universe.

This book is about a girl named parvathy. She is born during a strange circumstances. She loses her father on same day. From childhood till adult she has been always outcast for the some reason. From childhood until adult
Jan 16, 2008 Maggie rated it it was amazing
Parvati is a talented young girl, but on the day of her birth, storms wreck her entire village. All villagers then think she is bad luck. Even though she is a “jinx” to the village, Parvati gets the opportunity of her life. She is given the chance to study music and dance, and become a devadasi. She agrees, and is sent to a school where her life changes forever. After a year of hard work and training, Parvati is given the chance to dance for the king of her village. She moves into the palace and ...more
Yashoda Krishna
Oct 01, 2009 Yashoda Krishna rated it it was amazing
This book teaches children that when you believe in yourself, u should not do what others say or do, you should be yourself. Growing up, Parvati was laughed at, teased everyday by neighbors and even her cousins, and no one liked to play with her. Everyone blamed her for what had happened the day she was born. Grief had came to her small village. There were droughts, starvation of people, people dying everywhere u turned. Her father was making her a carving of Lord Shiva, however, he had died tha ...more
Chris Evans
Shiva's Fire by author Suzanne Fisher Staples who won a Newbery medal is about a young girl with a gift in India. Parvati is different from the start, her birth and her early childhood are marked with disaster and conflict but all along, her gift for dance grows. She follows a Guru to a school with other gifted young people and while she faces the same problems as at home, she is determined to fulfill her destiny as a dancer. I loved the different culture represented in the book. It certainly to ...more
Nov 29, 2009 Nytetyger rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-challenge
This really wasn’t a bad book, except for the underlying need for the author to again, throw horrible event after horrible event at the protagonist that really was unnecessary. Reading page after page on how her mother suffers due to the entire village somehow blaming HER for the tornado that destroyed their village and subsequent horrific time of monsoon weather might have happened, but as it shapes the MOTHER, and not her (these events witnessed by the baby and then toddler, but never really b ...more
Jun 24, 2009 h rated it it was ok
Shelves: j-fic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2014 Fatma rated it really liked it
shivas fire is not a normal story . Its talk about a young girl who born in a small village of an and anger in south india .On the day of her birth a lot of tragic events happened . a terrible storm hits the village on the first day of the monsoon season leaving half the village in ruins , by frightened herd of elephants . parvati mather and her two brothers had to love with her fathers brother and his family . One day a Guru (teacher) came to the village to learn (baharta natyam )is a classical ...more
Bella Wadley
Apr 03, 2014 Bella Wadley rated it liked it
Shiva's Fire is an intriguing book. When I started reading it, I was a bit hesitant. I wasn't sure if it would appeal to my very specific book preference. As I got more and more into it, I started learning more each day about the different culture. This book takes place in India, and I never been too familiar with the culture there. This book introduced terms, places and special events about India. I really enjoyed expanding my knowledge and appreciation for other religions and way of living. Th ...more
Parvati’s birth coincides with the day of her father’s tragic death by trampling elephants, the first day of a monsoon that cripples the village for years, and the sudden illness of the Rama’s son. Her aunt and the rest of the villagers regard her with suspicion and resentment. Her differences only isolate her further: she has a way of communicating with animals, staring into people’s eyes as if reading their souls, and a talent for dancing. When she is 9 or 10, a guru of Indian classica ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Roxanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Boaconha Brasil
Sep 30, 2013 Boaconha Brasil rated it it was amazing
Propomos este espaço na WEB para informar e promover um amplo debate sobre a política do uso de drogas que o Brasil deve adotar.

Este projeto é mantido por uma equipe multidisciplinar formada por voluntários especialistas em diversas áreas, tais como: saúde,comunicação, direito, educação, cultura, informática, economia, gastronomia, história, espiritualidade, sociologia, antropologia, entre outras.

Nosso portal é munido com um sistema de anúncios que nos permite controlar o número de exibições de
Dec 14, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
This young adult fantasy novel is a richly descriptive and beautiful adventure in a fictional south Indian state, where a girl named Parvati is born in a poor family and strange, devastating weather strikes the community. Villagers shun her, treating her like a freak and believing that the village’s problems are all her fault. She does indeed have magic powers, which she tries to suppress. She has a magical talent for dancing, a talent that goes unappreciated until a dancing guru arrives and ask ...more
Aurelia Casey
Aug 21, 2015 Aurelia Casey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
Pretty much any story about dance will catch my eye because I love dancing. I grew up doing Scandinavian and Balkan dance and I love learning new forms of dance whenever I have the opportunity. Consequently, this story really spoke to me. Parvati has to pick between "real life" and the life of a dancer. Having read this book in Middle School really helped me when I was in a position to decide whether I wanted to ignore all my other loves to dance or whether I wanted to create technology to help ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most influential books of my childhood.

As a young girl who loved dance, reading about Indian culture, and the idea of a grand destiny, I utterly fell in love with this book and reread it many times.

The details of Indian life, dance, and schooling are all intricate and interesting, and the descriptions of the monsoon was so strong that it had a lasting impact on me.

But most most of all, the dancing itself was magical. Get this book for any little girl who loves dance so muc
Wicked Incognito Now
Great way for the kids to learn a touch of Hindu and Indian culture while still getting to enjoy an engrossing story about a girl that is born with the gift of Shiva's dance.

I found it very interesting the way that the author wove Hindu tradition and belief into the story.

Parvati (the lead character) is a girl that is born the moment a disastrous storm destroys the village, thus is forever blamed for that disaster. However, growth can only come out of destruction, as we soon learn......and "fate
Oct 10, 2011 Esther rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
This book has touched me in so many ways. I have read it so many times since it was published so many places. I absolutely love her passion for the Indian culture and how she expresses it so well. In many of her books (all a hit)they do a wonderful job of explaining the truth and showing enough depth that most young adult understand. I would recommend this to any one young and old. Great read and great find in my school library that day. I'm so thankful for having an open mind or else I would ha ...more
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shivas fire 1 9 Nov 08, 2009 12:04PM  
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Suzanne Fisher Staples is the author of six books addressed to children and adolescents. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), she grew up in a small community around Northwestern Pennsylvania. She had three siblings, a sister and two brothers. Suzanne went to Lakeland High School in Scott Township, Pennsylvania. Later, she graduated from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She ...more
More about Suzanne Fisher Staples...

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