In a fantasyland desert, one girl's encounter with her gods is both dangerous and romantic.
Fifteen-year-old Yulla lives in Kaladim, a low-tech city seemingly ruled by superstition. Whenever the multiday eclipse comes (five or 10 or even 15 years apart) it's the Darktimes. The people of Kaladim retreat to the undercity tunnels, in a darkness untouched by lantern light, leaving offerings above for Mother Sun's children, who walk the city during the Scorching Days. The Fire Children are a part of a mythos involving Mother Sun, her betrayal by Father Sea, and the intervention of Sister Moon—a mythology of Kaladim's priestly class that is, it seems, almost completely accurate. When Yulla sneaks from the tunnels to see the city in the forbidden Scorching Days, she expects to be endangered by the Fire Children—not by a magical conspiracy. Luckily there's a handsome godling available for some mutual rescuing, and he's hot: like, burning. The pantheon's history is flatly literal, and Kaladim's pre-industrial, exotic desert vibe is represented by Arabic and Persian elements thrown together willy-nilly. Still, the complications of dating a boy whose temperature melts sand into glass are well-developed, and the book seems almost quaint (delightfully so) in its use of the past tense.
This entry in the stuffed paranormal-romance genre refreshingly lacks passive angst. (Fantasy. 11-14)