“The Screaming woke Surya. Her eyes flicked open and she was out of bed, flinging back the furs and reaching for her robes, before her mind had even registered the noise. She had become used to the sound of screaming that winter, and her body knew what it had to do.
It would be the Sedorne again. Whoever they had caught would need her help.”
Zira is an orphan, after losing her entire family in a fire which destroyed their home and left her terribly scared for the rest of her life she was taken to the House Of God. There Surya, the Noirin, asked the Holy Mother to bring Zira’s health back and, once this was done, raised her almost as a daughter. The incident nearly killed Zira and the Holy Mother rescued her but took away her memories. Zira knew nothing of her family or who they were, just that they were noble people and died to protect her. Until ten years passes and Zira starts to learn the truth about her past
Training to be a fighter in the House of God Zira helps protect the temple when it comes under attack. An attack which falls on the eve of her 16th birthday, kills her beloved Surya and forces the namoa and holy people to take refuge inside the shrine of the holy mother. There Zira finds that she isn’t just an orphan, she’s of royal descent and there’s a good chance that her life is in mortal peril.
This book grasped me and pulled me right in from the very start. The fantasy world which is created is in places terrifying but also very beautiful, mostly due to the amazing words that are used to describe it. I read the first 150 pages without even realising that many pages had gone by and couldn’t believe it. I was literally lost, entwined into the beauty of the words and passion that you can see in this book.
I haven’t actually read anything like Daughters of the flame before. I think the best description I could say to anyone (other than an f’ing awesome book!) would be that it’s a kinda historical oriental fantasy… The genre has never really appealed to me even though I know it really appeals to my sister and she has been trying to make me read it for, like, ever! Seriously, I have across the nightingale floor 1, 2 and 3 on my shelves because she wants me to read this genre and knows I’d love it! Tbh I don’t like proving her right so that’s why I haven’t read ATNF yet but Daughters of the Flame has made me want to read it more!
The descriptions in this book are just brilliant. I love the way that the features of the temple and the house of god are pulled out and the feel you get for the place as soon as you are in it. I wish that I could write as beautifully as Zoe Marriott because I want people to get lost in my words! I think my favourite part of the entire book was where Zira was describing how Surya was sitting in the octagon room, I could picture the whole room and the way Surya was sitting and she just looked beautiful!
Zira was a very passionate character. She had strong emotion running through her body and this really came across, she hated her scar but it was more the reaction it got than the scar itself. I loved that about her and I loved that she was strong willed enough to take over when things got tough even though it caused her problems. She is the sort of person I’d want in charge!
The book really got your emotions up throughout as well. The fighting scenes were awesome, so fast paced and really involved. Every two leg kick that Zira did I pretty much wanted to do to! I loved that my emotions were that hyped by the language that I wanted to join in! I’ve never felt so motivated to kick someone! haha, but let’s face it some of the characters, mainly the Sedorne, really deserved to be kicked!
I wanted to read different genres than I’m used to this year, having just gotten back into YA and seeing that before my main genre was contemporary fiction (mostly adult like Nick Hornby and Irvine Welsh) I’m so glad I did pick up Daughters of the Flames. I loved it, the story, the language, the characters and it was a brilliant introduction to the genre for me!
“Daughters of the Flames” came out in 2008 and is available to buy here. Zoe’s new book Shadows on the Moon will be out in July 2011, and will be reviewed on this blog in the upcoming months.