K's Reviews > Firethorn

Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
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Wow. If nothing else, this book is beautifully poetic, but it is much else: dark, introspective, mystic, gritty, an un-fluffy kind of romantic. It provided an interesting contrast to most of the heroine-fantasy I've read. It's not your average sword and sorcery epic.

Liked:
~Mythological storytelling/world building. There is a fully realized, culturally/religiously informed world view that isn't based on science, and not only is it understandable, it's practical and resonant. It makes sense as a way of thinking, even to my modern brain. It was amazing. I loved the little mythologically-based explanations of the way the world worked, and I loved that it didn't seem to take miraculous acts of divine magic to underscore the point. The 'magic' was more of a mystical experience because of this, and it gave the whole story a soulful feel. This was really my favorite part.

Appreciated:
~Stark portrayal of life for women. I can't say I liked it, because it made me mad to the point of almost giving up the book before I'd made it 1/3 of the way through, but I appreciated that the author created a story within the confines of a realistically chauvinistic society. I appreciated the fact that we're shown what kind of life an ordinary woman can expect, and what kinds of rules she might be able to break if she's extraordinary (not many, and certainly not gender rules).

Didn't like:
~The lack of a relationship between the two main characters. They only seem to interact when they're in bed, or when they're fighting. Sometimes both at once. I don't understand how they have such a strong connection (supposedly from the beginning) if this is all their relationship is. He can't possibly love her for who she is because he has no idea who she is. Nor she, him. Perhaps I missed something, because I'm not sure what he saw that he confesses to have fallen in love with, other than (I'm assuming) her amazing sex powers. Or maybe this kind of relationship is a result of the aforementioned societal confines. She is supposed to be his personal prostitute, after all, and men in this book don't really seem to be interested in women as anything else. I suppose a man brought up in that kind of culture wouldn't really care to know who his woman really was, even if he believed she was capable of being more than a sex-toy.
I suppose this bothered me most of all because as a heroine, I really liked her. She is strong and determined without being reckless or fearless or magically adept at swords. She has character flaws but struggles to overcome them. I wish he knew what she was really like, because she deserves it, and because I think he'd appreciate her more for it.
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Quotes K Liked

Sarah Micklem
“These Fatalists preach that Chance and Peril are merely masks for Fate's workings, nothing in themselves, and moreover that all the gods move at Fate's bidding. Their followers take comfort in thinking that their every deed is meant to be; it excuses all manner of meanness.”
Sarah Micklem, Firethorn


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