MORTAL FIRE by Elizabeth Knox


Age Range: 12 - 18
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A detached, secretive teen discovers the mystery of her origin when she encounters a peculiar, unorthodox family with magical powers.

Growing up in 1959 in Southland, a South Pacific island “in a world very like our own,” Canny graduates from tech school, where she’s a math whiz, “impervious to the point of rudeness,” with the ability to see Extra, which are cryptic letters attached to objects. Raised by a domineering mother, Canny knows nothing about her father and wonders what she’s “made of.” Her only friend, Marli, has polio. Traveling to research a 1929 mining disaster with her stepbrother, Canny enters the Zarene Valley, where she notices the air thick with Extra. She realizes the paranoid Zarenes protect themselves and their valley with Ideogrammatic spells that she can decipher. Determined to steal their magic to help Marli, Canny finds a house where time stands still for 17-year-old Ghislain, a Zarene who’s been imprisoned there by a spell since 1929. Drawn to Ghislain and driven by her need to know, Canny risks all to unlock the valley’s hidden secrets. A deeply intriguing heroine, Canny provides the focus for this powerful, perplexing story rife with enigmatic characters in a spellbound setting.

This intense, complex, occasionally inscrutable fantasy requires patient readers. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-38829-4
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2013


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