PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

The Fire Children is a rare gem in a pile of gritty and allegedly realistic fantasy novels; it’s a folksy tale that owes more to ancient myth and teenage rebellion than it does to the likes of popular television fantasy drama.

The book details the story of Yulla, a young lady born during an equinox. The people of Yulla’s village have a very specific tradition; every fifteen years, when the equinox comes, they hide in specially prepared caves and basements. This is because the goddess Mother Sun unleashes her Fire Children upon the world. These are avatars of the flame, literally burning beings that set fire to anything they touch. The village leaves out offerings, hides most of the flammable goods and waits until the scary burning people have gone.

Of course, Yulla, being a curious sort of girl, goes and takes a look for herself. In the process, she makes a discovery that could well change not only the world, but the heavens themselves. The Fire Children is a very strong tale aimed at the younger reader. It contains a little romance, a small amount of action and plenty of mystery. Lauren Roy creates a very detailed world in a very simple way, filling the story with magic and gods without drawing much attention. Magic seems a part of the world and though it is powerful and mysterious, isn’t immediately painted as something to be feared. Given that all the action takes place in one village, the tale should feel parochial and small. However, with very little set-up, she creates an epic and engaging world.

The writing style is very gentle and the action begins very slowly. This is important because the author takes the time to build up the characters. We genuinely care about Yulla and the friends that she makes on this adventure. The slow pace also masks the fact that the story is quite thin; one major thing happens in the book and there’s little in the way of subplots. 

The Fire Children is a good piece of fantasy fiction aimed at younger persons. Adults will blast through it easily, but it’s sure to spark the imaginations of more youthful readers.



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