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The Firebird

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  21 ratings  ·  15 reviews
What is true evil? How do you fight it?

Since she was little, Lada wanted to be part of the Order of Fennarin, one of the warrior-monks who are the last bastion in a war against the demons and insurgents that threaten her island home. Yet to achieve her dream, Lada turned blood traitor, her decision leading to the death and exile of her family.

Her betrayal comes to haunt he
ebook, First, 80 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Nerine Dorman
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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  21 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Belinda Lewis
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely fantasy novella with surprisingly complex social commentary, a warm water ocean island setting and lemurs.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: Nerine Dorman is my editor. This is the first work of hers I read, and I read it out of my own volition. I was in no way involved in the writing or editing of this novella.

Fantasy can come in many forms. The best-known kind of fantasy involves a princess aptly locked up in a tower, a dragon, and a prince in shining armor rushing to save her. It’s European fantasy alright, and its popularity comes from the dissemination European (and later on, American) culture have experienced t
Nerine Dorman
Jan 31, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
No rating because, well, duh. I'm the author.

I'm also not going to tell you how awesome this little story is, except to say that it's a concept that is very close to my heart.

Also, non-Eurocentric, secondary-world fantasy setting. If you're looking for something that *doesn't* have knights, towers, wizards and distressed damsels, then you might like this book.
J. R. Rainville
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When it comes to worldbuilding original fantasy, it often takes a sprawling narrative covering a few hundred pages and usually multiple volumes for the world to come alive. The Firebird is able to convey a fully realized fantasy world in the span of a novella. Much of that is owed to the author's tightly controlled prose and heavy reliance on grounding the reader in the setting. The use of first person narration helps with this, as Lada, the narrator, shares her experiences and feelings within t ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5/5

Lada is one of the warrior-monks of the Order of Fennarin who oppose the demons and insurgents that threaten her home. When she joined the Order, she betrayed her kin. When her long-lost brother Ailal is captured, elders demand Lada oversee his trial. 

She must consider, once again, whose side is the right one.

The plot of Firebird isn’t all that original, but it doesn’t have to be. The reader cares less about what’s actually happening than about what makes these characters tic
Lia Patterson
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this novella while on holiday on a tropical volcanic island, which turned out to be very fitting, as the story is set in just such a place. The non-Eurocentric setting is also what attracted me to it in the first place. It's rare to find a protagonist walking through a tropical forest with all its scents and sounds (there's even lemurs!) and Nerine Dorman really brings it to life.

This is a dark fantasy story, so don't expect any light-hearted romance or a happy ending for everybody, but i
A. B. Neilly
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An amazing ride via the terrific consequences of fanaticism and betrayal in a fantasy world.

Lada is a warrior monk who follows her elders' advice to protect her island from the attack of demons. She is so convinced of her ideology that she will betray her own blood in the fight for a better life.
From the start, we follow the travel of this woman through the horrendous sacrifice she made in the past, and what she must do in the present to get rid of the devils who threaten her land.
The problem i
Barry Gill
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a gem of a story!

I was thoroughly engrossed in this short story from the get-go.

A fast-paced and very thought-provoking piece of fantasy.

I find myself hoping Nerine will explore the world she has built in a series of stories like this.
The format is brilliant, I love the first person inner dialogue that tells the story and I think that the characters she has made have a good mix of emotions driving their actions. These are not flat, standard heroes. They have guilt and doubt and fear an
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tsbc-authors
Wow! Just wow! In the end, I read this in one sitting.

For the first half I felt her deep guilt, the pain of it crippling. How to live with that? But the ending just blew it up! Just amazing!
Tanja Wessels
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really loved reading this book. It is a great fantasy set on a tropical island. The test of family bonds and the unplanned cost of following dreams. I wish there was more.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An amazing short read. In parts terrifying, in parts overwhelming and in all parts an exploration of the tension between that which tries to dominate and that which fights it.

Also lemurs are creepy as all heck.
Caroline Moody
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this novella as the author was coming to the library I work at to give a talk.

The Firebird is set on a humid island, ruled over by a warrior monk sect. The main character, Lada, deeply believes in their doctrine but as she comes face to face with the darkness of her past, doubts begin to niggle at her.
Was it her fault or her brother's that caused the destruction of their family, this haunts Lada throughout the story as she tries to hold onto her beliefs and figure out the right course t
Jun 24, 2019 added it
~I cannot afford to be the cause of failure.~

~It's the lemurs' eerie hooting calls that make me shiver despite the mugginess of the day. The bell-like tones echo in this narrow valley - perhaps a maiden in distress, but then the cry rises and ends on an ascending staccato exclamation.~

~Guilt is a peculiar thing. Eventually the burden becomes a part of the body, an extra useless limb that trails along in the dirt.~

~How quickly we fall into the habit of allowing others to decide our actions.~

Mandisi Nkomo
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
An exceptionally well written novella, which flitters seemlessly between dark fantasy and horror.

While at times, it felt like the pacing was off, the ending wraps what might have seemed like meandering, into a tight, and some what pretty bow.

The horror elements can get grueling if you're not into that kind of thing, but I recommend staying the course. I would give reasons why, but I don't want to spoil the excellent ending.
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This novella is going to have me thinking for a good long while. And also hunting down anything else this author has written.
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Nerine Dorman is a South African author and editor of science fiction and fantasy currently living in Cape Town, with short fiction published in numerous anthologies. Her YA fantasy novel Dragon Forged was a finalist in the 2017 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature, and she is the curator of the South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment event and short story competition. Her short story “On the Other ...more

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