Zahira is a young woman of the conquered Rua people, their country occupied by another, very different culture - the Sedorne. Zahira is an orphan and has been raised to despise and distrust the occupying population, as well as to be a devout follower of the native religion. But everything changes for Zahira when her home and foster family are destroyed and she finds out some shocking truths about her heritage and real family. Realizing that it is up to her to do something about the violence and upheaval that are tearing her country apart, she must learn to accept her Sedorne origins and try to bridge the gap between the warring cultures. But when her own people suspect her of treachery for her ideas - especially after she saves the life of a Sedorne nobleman and begins to fall in love - the epic task ahead of her seems insurmountable...
Zoë has known that she wanted to be a writer since she read 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton at age eight. She's never changed her mind in all the years since then.
She completed her first manuscript - a truly embarrassing romance novel - at age sixteen, and kept on writing books and submitting them until she had collected rejections from nearly very publisher in the UK and two in Australia. She eventually got her first publishing contract when she was twenty-two - but had to wait until she was twenty-four to see that book published (The Swan Kingdom). Her books have been longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award and the Lancashire Book of the Year, and have won a Junior Library Guild Selection, a USBBY Outstanding International Listing, the Hillingdon Book Award and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Prize. Over the years she's worked as an admin assistant, a dental nurse, a civil servant, and a reader for a literary scout. She has designed and run over one hundred creative writing workshops in schools and libraries, and from 2017-19 she was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at York St. John University.
She lives in a little house in a town by the sea, with a manic spaniel called Ruskin (otherwise known as Demon Dog, Trash Puppy, Snaggletooth, or the supervillain in training) and far too many books. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the Open University, and working on her first novel for adults.
Daughter of the Flames was quite a treat. It really had a little bit of everything: action, adventure, drama, political mystery, goddesses and the divine, romance—if you can name it, it was probably there. Marriott manages to balance all of these elements and create a fantasy that is not too overwhelming for the reader to understand. But what I really enjoyed about most about this book (aside from the awesome sparring scenes) was the complexity of its characters and their interactions. Though the romance in this novel starts out as more pragmatic than anything, it was nice to see that the friendship forged out of circumstance slowly blossomed into something heartfelt and true. Marriott does a wonderful job of layering each character with their own fears, wants, hopes, and dreams. Nobody is good. Nobody is evil. Everybody is just doing what they believe they have to do in order to set things right. Even King Abheron. It is very rare for me to find a book where I sympathize with the villain as much as I do the heroine, but I found myself wishing that he could be taken to a therapist and helped. Maybe if Dr. Phil existed in this world less people would have died. But it certainly made for an exciting read!
This book is perilously close to a full 5 stars. Because I can't decide, I am for now, instead going to give it a glowing review and demand that you just go out and read the book.
The weakest part of this book and one reason it isn't getting an automatic 5 stars is the prologue. I feel that Ms. Marriott tried to tell us too much about her world all at once, by alternately giving the reader way more information about the happenings of this world than we can currently handle and casually tossing out words, phrases and ideas that should have an explaination but don't. Oh, that's right. We all worship a glowing blue fire goddess called The Mother...
Anyway, I understand the desire to introduce your readers quickly and fully into the world you have created, but I do think this time, it could have been better.
That being said, I LOVED this book. Zira/Zihira is scarred. Not an interesting mark in her hairline, or a clever little rose spot on her cheek. No. She has a huge, horribly noticable burn scar that almost completely covers one whole side of her face. It almost cost her the eye. Magically (thank you fire goddess...) she can see. (No worries- it isn't really a spoiler, it's all talked about in the prologue). Oh ya, and she totally kicks trash. She is like, fer real hard core. When I was younger I wanted to be a ninja. (Who am I kidding... I STILL want to be a ninja) If I couldn't be a ninja, I totally wanted to be an indian warrior princess. This girl has got it going on! She gets to be it all! A hidden princess (not quite indian, but there are 2 differing ethnicities acting together here) and she can fight you and win. Bam, smack down! I love that Marriott is able to write a truly strong heroine here who doesn't apologize for what she has to do, or what she has become. Once she realizes who she really is (the true ruler of her people) she faces up to the challenge and makes the really tough decisions no one else seems able to make. And she sticks with them.
Then, there is Sorin. Who doesn't like this guy? He seems pretty down to earth definitely a guy I'd like to meet. And, I love that Marriott doesn't take the easy way out with his character. After the midnight mess (no details, sorry... I don't want an actual spoilers here... Just read the book!) it would have been so easy for Sorin to experience no long term effects, but given the nature of the incident, it would have been unlikely, and would have cheapened the event. So, she didn't. She let the story take it's natural and logical course, made Sorin's character grow and expand around that and I think the story is stronger and more meaningful because of that.
Oh, and her Uncle, the King. Lets no forget about him, shall we. He is creepy. And yet, I pity him. And not in the way you pity villians because they are just such pathetic maggots that there is no emotional response left available to you. No, I pity him because his character deserves the soft hearted genuine pity one gives to someone who has utterly lost their way, truly desires to find it again, but knows- as do you- that there is no redemption left for them. A truly great villian, because there are moments of humanity and heart that shine out through the depravity and darkness.
Most of the supporting side characters are just as fun as those taking the spotlight. Although many of them aren't fully developed and don't get a lot of 'screen time' I left the book feeling like I knew them and that in the event that I needed them, they would have my back. (Sigh... It's gonna really suck when I'm in an awful position, in imminent danger expecting Deo or even Rashna to come riding to my rescue, only to realize... Oh ya, they aren't real here.)
The only other complaint I had with this book- (Stop reading if you don't want a mild spoiler that may or may not ruin a moment for you...) Although they initially married for convinience and the sake of the kingdom, it is obvious to readers (and those who haven't gotten that far yet, because, come on... What else would happen here) that the pair, Zahira and Sorin fall in love, real love, happily ever after love, with each other. But, neither one actually ever says the word to the other. The closest Sorin comes is once to call her, My love. I for one, would have liked the verbal affirmation. Especially at the end. They both probably know how the other feels, but who doesn't like to hear that every once in a while.
Suffice it to say that this book was wonderful. I loved the characters. Zahira is a strong character. She is of the best kind, because she begins being strong in body and stable of mind and when the story ends, she is still physically strong (although perhaps more aware of her own mortality) but she is now incredibly strong mentally and emotionally and she relies more heavily on who she is.
I've had my eye on Zoë Marriott's second novel, DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES, since I read Chelle's review lo these many months ago. So I was happy to see it pop up on my Cybils reading list. I've read several books lately that have had an Asian/Middle Eastern flavor to them and was surprised and very much pleased to find DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES did as well. This was my first novel by Ms. Marriott and I was both looking forward to giving a new author a shot and in the mood for some more traditional fantasy. It's also worth it to point out the rather lovely cover this novel sports. The flames and curlicues are swirlingly lovely, enough so that the fact that Zira doesn't look quite as I pictured her isn't any kind of stumbling block at all.
Zira is a trained warrior. A novice with a face full of scars and a forgotten past, she perches right on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday. At the same time she anxiously awaits her superior's decision on whether she will join the ranks of the namoa or be sent to tend the temple livestock for the rest of her days. Born a Rua, Zira belongs to a conquered people. The Sedorne rulers overran the peaceful country of Ruan and the current king, Abheron, rules with an iron fist, encouraging his lords to crush the Rua under their feet. But behind the deceptively peaceful temple walls, rebellion is in the wind. When a surprising series of events lead Zira to save a young Sedorne lord's life, she is set on the path that will lead her to places she never expected, where, frankly, she would rather die than set foot. But it is Zira's fate to be more than she is, to combine the hopes and fears of two races in one body, and to be savior to a nation.
I was drawn in very quickly. There are all kinds of familiar fantasy elements at play here that Marriott handled quite well, wrapping them up in a nice bit of world building, full of heady descriptions of cuisine, vegetation, and light and shadow that had me salivating and oohing and ahhing at will. Zira's past is appropriately murky and, when it comes to light, it is in no way surprising. And yet Ms. Marriott weaves in some interesting implications that keep you reading. The same is true of the villain. He is dastardly and despicable and, after one particularly grisly scene, I was convinced he was truly evil. But he wasn't surprising or very complex, really, until about 250 pages in when his character development takes a truly masterful turn. Literally between the space of one page and the next I was fully invested, desperate to see how these heretofore unknown layers worked their way into the plot to wreak havoc. Unfortunately, this was a bit too late as there were only about 80 pages left in the book. If only he'd become more interesting 100 pages earlier. Because this book has a truly excellent climax, full of fighting and mayhem and excitement. The romance followed the same lines. I loved how unconventional it was, how it was all arranged as a matter of strategy and convenience and whether or not they might actually be capable of falling in love with each other was considered of only minimal importance. This slow pace was delicious and I bought their hesitance and awkwardness and loved every minute. But things began to fall apart at a certain point and I felt like this central relationship never quite got back its former fervor by the time the story wound to a close. Despite these inconsistencies, there is some real talent here and I will definitely be picking up Ms. Marriott's next book.
From inside jacket flap: "What if your deadliest enemy was the only one who could save you.
In an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess, defending the faith of the Ruan people. Then terror strikes at everything Zira loves, and the only home she knows is destroyed byt the occupying forces of tyrannical King Abheron. To survive, she must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people's fate - and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy."
I've been waiting for a new Zoe Marriott book ever since I read her first novel, The Swan Kingdom about a year or so ago. Marriott is one of the authors that I've come to count on when I need a good young adult fantasy book to read. She may not be very well known, but she knows what she's doing when it comes to writing a satisfying book!
I really liked the main character, Zira. She was a strong character, and even after she fell in love she was still independent and fierce - there is nothing worse than a heroine who falls to pieces after she has found a big, strong man who sweeps her off her feet! I am a romance junkie, but I still appreciate it when author's allow their female leads to have a brain!
I think that the cover of this book is really eye catching, but a bit of disappointment because the girl isn't a very good representation of a Zira. She is missing a scar of her face that is important to the story line...
Its been a while but I remember why I wanted to read this book. Firstly for the main girl; she sounded like a strong heroine that can really hold her ground. Secondly because of my brother. Now he doesn’t read books like this but I remember how he used to always say call himself 'Lord of the Flame' (I think he got it from some movie). So the name Daughter of the Flame caught my eye.
I was really hoping to love this book but I was kind of disappointed. Part of it had to do with the main girl. At first I thought this is exactly the kind of girl I want on my team but then in the middle she really just turns to mush. I understand it’s stressful to be responsible for so many people and being so young too but she cries an awful lot and doesn't know what to do about anything. I think the love interest is making most of the shots and that would be fine if he was the ruler of her people but he’s not. In the end though she shows what she's made of. I like the guy too, just as a side note.
Another part was the villain is just all kinds of wrong. He isn't scary, not really and his reason for doing what he did doesn't make sense to me. He just does bad stuff just because it's his fate (it’s what he is good at), that's the most pitiful excuse I've ever heard. Sorry that might have been a spoiler, buuuut I don't really think so. I can say I thought he was creepy though, yeah he's creepy alright.
I could be okay with the first half because I could understand Zirah to some extant, I was just kind of disappointed is all and the villain just seemed strange.
Other than that: the setting, the culture, religion, and secondary character all very interesting.
This has been a theme for me lately and I really should learn from it: do not judge a book by its cover. And let me tell you, this book's cover is spectacular, I mean really, it's beautiful. The book itself, however... was boring.
There was nothing particularly wrong with the story. The writing dragged a bit at times, but it wasn't bad. The plot was just the same old fantasy rehash - I notice Marriott thanked Diana Wynne Jones for writing The Tough Guide to Fantasyland but, really, wasn't the whole point of the guide to help you not fall into clichés when writing? Because this plot was all about clichés. Orphan girl discovers she's the last of a royal line, has a great fate to lead her people but must first learn, blah blah blah.
Now, I don't mind that storyline at all because as it is known there are 7 basic plots and every story will follow them somehow. And that's alright because the characters will pull you into the story. You'll root for them, you'll want them to succeed. I didn't feel much of anything for Zira. I didn't dislike her, I didn't like her - in fact I didn't feel much of anything for any of the characters in the book. Not even one. I was actually kind of hoping for some kind of tension between Zira and her ~should-be-enemy~ love interest, but he, as well as their whole romance was boring.
And the villain... I mean, he almost woke me up because his story was interesting and I really thought Marriott had struck gold and I was ready to apologise for all my yawning, but she just turned him from tragic and compelling into insane and inane. And not even an interesting crazy person... just boring. Like this book.
Let me get this out of the way: I am an absolutely massive Zoë Marriott fan. Truthfully I have loved every single one of her books. Daughter of the Flames was my emergency read, like that book you keep when things get on top of you and you need escape and comfort. I’d been saving it for years.
If I was comparing Daughter of the Flames to Zoë Marriott’s most recent Name of the Blade Trilogy then there differences. I mean Zira’s story was Zoë’s second book and published in 2008 but the ‘Zoë Magic’ (as I call it) is there.
All the things that I adore so much are there: The characters, the world building, the captivating writing, the way I’ve never yet managed to just read one chapter but always end up reading the whole book in one sitting.
Daughter of the Flames might classed as YA Fantasy but actually I think it’s a story that would be enjoyed as a fantasy read by anyone. It’s strategic and political with magic, love (not just the romantic kind) and swords.
Daughter of the Flames opened beautifully. Readers enter into a vibrant new world where the unfortunate people have been suppressed by a brutal tyrant. The dynamics of this novel were wonderful. Marriott’s style is lightly reminiscent of the classic fairytale of old. The characters each had distinct personalities, especially the heroine, Zira.
The passion that Zira feels for what she believes in shines through Daughter of the Flames. But the truly captivating aspect of her personality is how she learns to not let her passion override her sense. Zira’s emotional growth in this novel was remarkable. She begins the story seeing the world only as an individual would, but by the end, she is able to view things by looking at the whole of a situation and at what is best for the general good.
Other characters display depth; even the villain of the story has a story to tell. Marriott did a wonderful job in Daughter of the Flames. The bright fantasy had a soft but heady scent of fairytale, which complemented the tone delightfully. Modern girls will love this novel, particularly readers who are fans of heroines with a backbone. Zira never once gave into the unfortunately common damsel-in-distress syndrome, and the readers will be left with a marvelous sense of empowerment.
Daughter of the Flames is highly recommended by the NSCGs.
The basic plot here is a fairly cliche high fantasy lost-prince(ss) vs usurping tyrant set-up, but Marriott does manage to add some original elements to make it her own. Zira and Sorin were fairly solid main characters, and I liked that the author did not break down the two sides in the conflict along strictly national/ethnic boundaries (although I think the country of Sedorne could have used some development). Most importantly, I was glad to see Marriott improving as an author -- the writing and structure here are much tighter than in her debut The Swan Kingdom.
Daughter of Flames is a stand alone, which seems to be harder and harder to find in YA nowadays. It does have a companion novel which has other characters in it, but it isn't necessary to read that one to enjoy this one. While I liked that about it, it was also a drawback because I felt the story was a little rushed at times. This book could have gotten five stars from me if it had progressed at a slower pace through certain parts. For example, I wanted to experience how Zahira and Sorin got closer and I felt like we were mostly just told that they did. Other than that I have no complaints. The book was hard to put down and I loved the characters.
My first experience with Zoë Marriott was her lovely retelling The swan kingdom. From that moment I knew I had to read more from her and the sweet Kristen gave this copy to me. Thanks to her I’m now aware that I really like Marriott’s stories and I’m going to hunt down a copy from the companion novel called Frostfire. You can download the first chapter for free if you like to try it out: Zoë Marriott.
The world-building and concept of this book are pretty basic. Ruan is attacked by Sedorne and the Royal family is butchered, The Sedorne king is a tyrant and destroys everything, but he forgot that one person survived. Zira is rescued by her maid and taken to the covenant where Surya becomes her second mother. She is trained as a warrior and when she finds out who she truly is, Zira’s life changes forever. Together with the Sedornse lord Sorin, Zira is ready to free her people.
The thing that makes this story different is Zira. I loved this girl. She has fire and a passion in her that makes her indestructible. This could easily led to an I'm-far-too-perfect-character, but Zira has enough flaws to make her realistic. She has a soft side and finding out who she truly is makes her insecure. She questions herself a lot despite her warrior training. We get a girl whose life completely changed and we see how she adapts and grows through all her trials. She is capable of clever decisions even when she is frightened; she is even willing to sacrifice others, instead of throwing herself in a dangerous situation where she could be killed. It was so refreshing!
The romance might have been a little too fast, but Marriott manages to stay clear from the insta-love. I could see how the decision was necessary at that time, even when both of the characters were a little naive and too hopeful. Nevertheless, I really liked Sorin and how they both grew toward each other. What started as a strategic connection turns out into a loyal, respectful and balanced relationship.
I was surprised by the villain and his background story. It’s not like anything I’ve read in a while and I love how Marriot twisted him into someone you almost feel sorry for. I don’t agree with his life choices, but it seems he is a trouble person who makes very bad choices, instead of being a bad person. The ending is like I expected from this book. Everything is solved easily and is neatly wrapped-up. Just the way I like my endings most of the times. Definitely check it out!
Not quite five star material but a solid four star, Daughter of the Flames was a real treat to read. Fantasy religion, sacrifice, secrets, warriors, love - both of family/friends and romantic, rebellion... this book has it all. The best part, though, is the characterisation. The heroine is not a Special Snowflake. She's gifted but not perfect and able to make decisions even when they aren't pretty ones. Her relationship with the hero is touching as are her often complicated relationships with her people, not all of whom are all that sure that they like her! Best of all is the author's treatment of the villain - he's suitably loathsome but you can completely understand why. I both hated him and felt deeply sorry for him and that kind of complexity is just gorgeous.
The cover of this book is a beautiful piece of art, and, if you read through the entire book, actually fits the story perfectly.
Except for the fact that Zahira (the female lead) was supposed to be scarred on the left side of her face, leaving an ugly white mark all the way down the middle of her forehead, and leaving her left eye slightly distorted. The girl on the cover, however, is practically flawless. In simpler terms, she doesn’t look the part at all.
Another thing that was glaringly obvious was what was written in the blurb- the last few lines state: ‘Now the time has come to fight back- and nothing will stand in the way of her people’s freedom. Not even the man she loves.’ This implies that the man she supposedly loves is an enemy of hers, and in time to come, she’ll have to choose between him and her people. This is not the case, however, in the book. Sure, he’s an enemy at first. But she learns to trust him, and eventually he doesn’t exactly pose a threat to her people’s freedom. So the last line of the blurb had me utterly baffled.
On to the story itself.
I loved that Zahira was strong from the start, that she wasn’t some crying, weeping, sniveling female lead unable to take charge of her own life. She’s an excellent role models for young girls everywhere, and continues displaying that strength of hers even in the most difficult of situations. So… girl power :D
The setting was fantastic, and the descriptions showed how carefully thought-out every single detail had been. It was a realistic fantasy world, with gorgeous scenery and real-to-life characters. Not to mention, the fighting scenes were great. The writing flowed well, and even though it was simple and not as lyrical as I would have liked, it rather suited the story. Some terms had me rather confused (and still do), but they were used consistently throughout the story so even though I didn’t exactly understand them, the story still made perfect sense.
I also found myself rather liking the character of Abheron, her ‘evil’ uncle, who turned out not so evil after all. It was a welcome change from the usual ‘I’m-dark-and-evil-and-cruel’ bad guy in stories. This was a man with a conscience, forced by his will and upbringing to become the person he ended up being. And I found that very, very believable. Some things he did in the story (e.g. burning the plant) had me awed at the subtle significance of it all, and the slow and steady emergence of his more humane side. His character was brought out better than Sorin’s was, however I did think that the story could have been lengthened slightly more towards the end, because there wasn’t enough time to fully flesh out his character properly and hence, lessening the intended impact on the readers.
The romance between Zahira and Sorin was an unusual one. For one, he was eight years older than her. Their marriage was also one of convenience, and not of love and passion. But it suited the context of the story well. I felt that she fell in love with him too early, and that would actually be believable had it not been for the lack of romance development between the two of them. There should have been more time given for their romance to develop and fully blossom- but there had not. It was understandable, though, given that this entire story was done in only one book.
All in all, it was a satisfying read, and towards the end, the story does indeed get compelling, ending with a marvelous twist. On to FrostFire (:
Zira has been disfigured as a child in the fire that killed her parents. She remembers nothing of her childhood as she grows up in a sheltered monastery. There she is protected from the Sedorne conquerors who have despoiled the land of Ruan. Trained as a warrior priestess, her one desire is to be a fighting namoa but she is unsure where her guardian Surya will choose to appoint her when her sixteenth birthday comes.
Just before that, Surya takes her to a distant town: Mesgao. There, while Surya is in secret discussion with some men Zira suspects of having connections with the resistance to the Sedorne overlords, she is allowed to wander the market. When an attack is made on a passing carriage, her fighting instincts kick in and she saves a man's life: a man who is none other than the cousin of the tyrannical king Abheron. She won't take payment for her rescue but Sorin extracts from her a promise that, should she ever need help, she will come to him and he will give it.
She has no intention of ever asking him to redeem his promise but circumstances overtake her. Rumours of a fighting namoa who saved the life of Sorin of Mesgao reach the king. Abheron had been behind the plot to kill Sorin but now he turns his attention to the monastery. Troops are sent to destroy it. Surya is killed, but many enter the secret inner citadel dedicated to the goddess of fire and escape the carnage.
When the destruction is over, Zira emerges from the central fire sanctuary where she lay in a coma. She remembers who she is: half Sedorne, half Ruan, she is the last remaining princess of the kingdom of Ruan. Abheron is her uncle. And he murdered her parents...
With nowhere else to go, she leads the survivors on a terrible trek to Mesgao. There Sorin, despite being one of the enemy, proves his integrity and the worth of his word. But he is aware Abheron will move against him, simply for sheltering the survivors. If only the people of Ruan could join with the disaffected Sedorne and, together, form a strong united resistance capable of defeating Abheron.
Sorin realises there is only one way. Zira is appalled at his proposal. For that's exactly what it is: a proposal of marriage.
I liked this book a lot. I usually like well done menarche fantasies which do the 'do not touch me' conflict well. However, I didn't like the way Zira was made the strong character of the piece through the incapacitation of Sorin. His disability, even though it occurred quite early, seemed like the deus ex machina of the plot to ensure that the final duel (which was all too obviously coming) would be between Zira and Abheron. It killed some of the suspense because it took Sorin out of contention of much of the action.
Someone come get this book it's very own diss track! AHA. I cannot stop laughing after I stayed up to finish the book! Daughter of the Flames has so many issues... I just can't XD!
It feels like one of those cliche 'I'm a lost princess and I didn't even know it' books. I'll give you the cliff notes version. Zira 'Zahira' is royalty, her family dies in a fire and she gets injured so that she doesn't remember her life before living with the Rue people. Yeah so basically her guardian tells her the day before her 16th b-day that 'oh you're royalty' crap, and she's like O.O okay.
Fast forward, the Sedorne, these people that have been enemies to the Reu (Rue?) for decades, show up and destroy her people's home, temple, and kills her guardian. The 'god' that they serve gives Zira all her memories back, yada yada yada. Zira leads her people to a safe place with some Sedorne lord named Sorin she saved early on in the book. (I know I'm missing a lot of minor details) Annd yeahh. Zira reveals her identity to him and he's like "let's get married so we can take the crown from your evil king of an uncle". I CRINGED SO MUCH. Please keep in mind that Sorin is 24! AND Zira just barely turned 16!
She literally only knows the man for like a week and already they've fallen in love with each other. Insta-love is one of my biggest issues with the book. Anyways... I'm not going to spoil it more than I have to. But I will say that this entire book was one rushed mess. Maybe if Marriott had made this book alone into a duology, maybe even triology, and slowed down the insta-love between Zira and Sorin, then maybe, just maybe I would have enjoyed it. Not to mention the age gap was unacceptable. A SHEER CHILD AND AN ADULT! I..I Can't. It was also tremendously boring and completely slow in some ways. Grabs book and throws it into the trash* Takes it back out because it's a library book*
Another great read by Zoe Marriott. DotF follows the story of 15 year old Zira. Although she is young, she's fearless, which is just as well, because the antagonist in this story is warped as well as evil.
Ms Marriott has been very clever with this book because, not only do you get to know the heroine in DotF, you also get to know her opponent and his motivations and, strangely, you feel some sympathy for him. It really makes you question what makes a person evil? And can evil people do good things? I like when a book has the power to make you ask questions of morality without actually posing those questions or preaching at you.
Once again, we get to experience Ms Marriott's great characterization. You have a very clear picture in your head of each individual that plays a part in the story and you feel that you get to know them as the story progresses. I very much enjoyed the interaction between Zira and Sorin.
The writing is clean, the pacing is good throughout and the plot is easy to follow, flowing seamlessly from one scene to the next. She builds a very believable world and creates engaging characters that you become emotionally invested in.
This is Book 1 in the Ruan series but they are stand alone books. Perhaps if I would have read this one before I read Frostfire I would have given it 5* but Ms Marriott has had time to hone her skills. That does not take anything away from this book, though. It is well worth a read.
I found this book, the English version, in a bookstore here in Malaysia and I was instantly attracted by the cover. It's a beautiful, striking piece of art.
Zira grows up training, hoping to become a novice and a fighting warrior. She lives in Ruan, which was invaded ten years ago by the Sendrone. One day before her 16th birthday, her home, a holy temple, is attacked by the Sendrone king insinuated in Ruan. Upon escaping their attack, Zira discovers something about herself, thanks to the God's fire (who is a female God, awesomely enough), and has to lead the survivors to a place of refuge and also to a hopeful future of regaining their land.
There are some pretty obvious events foretold in this story, but I like the vivid succinct writing of Zoe Marriott. Nobody is completely good or bad, there's a mixture of both in some, though some characters don't get a more time in order to show their depths. Some of Zira's decisions or events that happen to her/other people are believable - it's not all happy endings for everybody. A delightful read, and it makes me wish my public library back home in the US had Zoe Marriott's first novel.
A light and fast paced book with an interesting plot and characters.
A lost princess without family and freshly recovered memories and destiny, a country oppressed and divided in two, the invading Sedorne and the conquered Rua and a tyrant king with his very own sad story.
That was the first book I've read by the author and she has some great ideas, so I'll definitely keep an eye out for more.
Enter Zahira, a warrior priestess in training at a shrine to their 'God.' She lost her memory when she was 5 and then, at age 15, her shrine is burned down by a relative that she didn't know existed. Now, as she regains her memories she has to lead her people to either their rise, or their downfall. Packed with action, romance, and secrets, 'Daughter of the Flames' is a guarrenteed good read.
Heir to the thrown of a conquered nation is told of her heritage at 16 and considers the help of an enemy to regain her place.
Interesting premise, but total fail in the resolution. I won't give it away, but the ending is an "Oh, c'mon!" Blah. Still the writing is okay, and the heroine interesting enough for when teens have run through all the other strong-girl based adventure books.
i enjoyed this book, but found the main 'dude' too good to be true.
i really enjoyed that the main 'dude' was not able to solve all the damsel in distresses problems. She has to do it herself. it was also a nice change to read a book that wrapped up and had a real ending. Of course, there are always possibilities, but closure was nice.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Daughter of the Flames is a supertasticawesome book. I really liked it. Zahira Elfenesh is such a great character. She learns her true identity and fights the powers that come against her. Zahira looses, but she also gains. Sorin Mesgao is another great character. He barely knows Zahira, and yet he cares for her in more ways than one. I really liked this book. It was awesome!
Daughter of the Flames (2008) by Zoë Marriott is a very enjoyable read.
The book is the first in the Ruan books by the author and follows Zahira who has been through it from the start of her life to say the least. She lost her mother to murder when she was young. After surviving from the fire her mother perished in she is raised as her own by another woman. The fifteen-year-old soon has much responsibility on her shoulders as the Rua people are in battle with the Sedorne people who have occupied their country. Zahira is half Rua and half Sedorne and soon she finds herself as the leader of the Rua people on a mission to bring the Rua people and the Sedorne people together.
I really liked the book. It has a little bit of everything in it. Adventure, romance and commentary on social issues. The romance element I found a bit strange though as I wasn’t too sure of what the age gap was but I think her boyfriend and then husband was in his twenties so I constantly had that in the back of my mind reading their parts together. Maybe I got it wrong so apologies if that is the case but it came across that way and that obviously put me off the romance element of the story. Otherwise the romance had a good premise. A woman who was half Rua, half Sedorne and a man who was Sedorne falling in love allows many questions to be put forward in the plot and moves the plot along and they clearly care about each other other. If they had of been closer in age if I got about their ages right it would have totally worked for me. It was just hard to get over that because she is only fifteen.
I adore the social commentary in this book. It resonates a lot with reality done in a fictional way and the author really delves into those topics which I always appreciate and love in writing. We see things from various different points of view and the stumbling blocks people face in trying to do something good. The adventure is really well-written and there is a lot of twists and turns that makes the book very exciting for the reader. I also think the idea for the book was really interesting and well thought out. I also think Zahira was a well-rounded and likeable character. She was interesting and had a lot to think and say and I loved that.
I don’t know if I am reading too much into this but there does seem to be a lot about identity as Zahira seems to be trying to find her identity and her place in the world a lot. I loved reading about her journey and I think it will be very easy for many people going through various different identity searches to relate to. I thought that was cool. I also found it really cool that Zahira was mixed-race because there needs to be more representations of people other than the white, cis, straight, able-bodied man character in books so huge kudos to the author for not going down that route.
All in all I think the plot was really interesting and the writing was superb. A great read which it only took me a day or two to read so that kind of says it all. It’s an engrossing adventure.
I really wanted to like this book, the plot was enjoyable, pretty standard but the king surprised me throughput - but it was just so rushed. It bounced from plot point to plot point quickly, but was written in a fluid, super easy to read way - I finished it in a day quite happily. It suffered from something that annoys me often in YA - their ages. With her being 16, 15 at the start, I would have liked to have known his - just saying. I almost stopped reading when the pick up line happened as I was so immediately grossed out. Her being a novice at this age is completely believable, but his role? With no talk of how he got there so young? I had assumed he was in his thirties, and going after a 16yr old girl. 8 years still freaked me out but not as much, I guess.
As with the second book in this series, FrostFire, loved the characters and world. Zahira's character was really rich, and I liked how her character grew throughout the story.
The story line fell really short, and while mostly everything was resolved, it felt really quickly done. The first section of the book, up until their second wedding, made me expect a much more complex ending. The highest point in the book for me was when Zharia discovered her identity / the attack on the House of God.
I liked the book, but it left me disappointed.
 I forgot to mention, but the romance was extremely lacking? I get that it wasn't meant to be a romance, however other than the first interaction when they met, their relationship wasn't built at all.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.