Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES by Zoë Marriott

DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES

By Zoë Marriott

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3749-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A tantalizing prologue settles into satisfactory adventure, dampened by excessive description. Marriott opens with a gripping middle-of-the-night crisis as burned refugees pour into an abbey-like temple. One refugee hides a child beneath her cloak—the only member of the king’s family not killed when invaders set the royal castle ablaze. That child, first-person narrator Zira, grows up in the temple training as a warrior, but readers know her lofty fortune all along: Born as royalty (unbeknownst to her), she’s destined to become queen. Zira befriends and marries a sympathetic lord who’s Sedorne—the conquering race—as the text focuses heavily but somewhat ambiguously on both personal responsibility and fate. The characters’ normative skin color is brown, the heroine interracial, God female; however, traditional power dynamics are less subverted than this setup implies, offering fertile ground for discussion. Unnecessary adverbs (people “scurried...hastily”), cluttered details and sometimes florid prose (“colors so pure that the eye could hardly perceive them”) take the edge off this otherwise solid fantasy confirming birthrights and inevitability. (Fantasy. YA)