WINTER OF FIRE by Sherryl Jordan

WINTER OF FIRE

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From Jordan (A Time of Darkness, 1990), another tale set in an ecologically devastated future. Living in treeless mountains under cold perpetual clouds, human society has split into two classes: the autocratic Chosen and the despised Quelled, who mine the coal that's the only available source of heat. To general consternation, the ruling Firelord has picked Elsha, an angry Quelled teenager, as his new and only Handmaid; she vows to better the lot of her people, though it means battling centuries of prejudice. Though the scenario here is promising, Jordan focuses on Elsha's thoughts and smoldering spirit to the exclusion of believable plot development, background detail, and even character (Chosen and Quelled alike seem sketchy and unrealized). Meanwhile, Elsha sounds like a walking essay (``Your treatment of us is wrong, evil and unendurable,'' etc.); when she becomes Firelord after a perfunctory, awkwardly inserted battle, her decrees meet no determined resistance from Chosen who've previously responded to her with violent hatred. The emotion is affecting here, but relationships are confused rather than complex; loose ends dangle from the long, predictable story, and Elsha is unchanged by her experiences. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-590-45288-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993




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