Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Daughters of Fire

The Romans are landing in Britannia...

Cartimandua, the young woman destined to rule the great tribe of the Brigantes, watches the invaders come ever closer. From the start her world is a maelstrom of love and conflict, revenge and retribution. Cartimandua's life becomes more turbulent and complicated as her power grows, and her political skills are threatened by her personal choices. She has formidable enemies on all asides as she faces a decision which will change the future of all around her.

In the present day, historian Viv Lloyd Rees has immersed herself in the legends surroundings the Celtic queen. Viv struggles to hide her visions of Cartimandua and her conviction that they are real. But her obsession becomes ever more persistent as she takes possession of an ancient brooch that carries a curse. bitter rivalries and overwhelming passions are reawakened as past envelops present and Viv finds herself in the greatest danger of her life.

The first thing that surprised me while reading Daughters of Fire was how the plot didn't need to be amazing to pull me in. The story is basically about Viv having flash backs of Cartimandua's life and bringing lots of people around her in the unraveling dramatic events that follow. The resume didn't make me excited and all, just slightly curious, but i was already hooked ever since the first page.

I guess this is because of the beautiful, smooth and lyrical writing of Erskine. It's this kind of writing that inspires you automatically, that makes you want to go on with the story and that illustrates everything so well. Physical descriptions included too! It irks me so much when in books no descriptions of the characters are given, and you are just left to wonder how everyone and everything looks; I take authors who forget to describe their characters in such disdain! This time I was pleased. Good descriptions are good. Both of the characters and environment.

As I said, the plot wasn't amazing. It was a good read, a very interesting book that portrays well the Celts and that makes you learn a lot. It was long, though (not that I have anything against long books! The bigger the more I like them! It's just that when a plot isn't juicy enough, my interest falters..) and around the middle it started to slightly drag and you tell yourself 'ngngn hurry up...' because you want to get to the core of it all already. The last hundred pages are packed with drama and action and all and so the book ends pretty well. I actually liked the conclusion and the whole unraveling. It has a dramatic touch to it. You all know how much I love drama. :)

For the characters, just as the plot, I was content, but not amazed. They are very well developed, very different and each of them stand out with their own personality. And guess what. No silly teens have the spotlight! It's goodbye teen drama and hello adult drama! Indeed, most of the characters were over their thirties, and I liked that. It's a bit strange for me to think of fantasy and paranormal with adults involved, but it was good. I didn't get that attached to the characters as I usually do, perhaps because here we deal with ye old folks, but I didn't mind them either. They weren't bad, but neither were they amazing.

So, in conclusion, a good read. I have another book by Erskine in my possession, The Warrior's Princess, but I'll pick it up a bit later. I heard that all of Erskine's books are written in the present/past flashback style and even if it might be a bit repetitive, it's still an interesting trademark and a fun way to learn history slightly altered by fiction. Now I enjoy reading about Cartimandua on wikipedia and looking for pictures of her and reviving the character of the book in my head.
Daughter of Fire by Barbara Erskine
Rating: 8,6/10

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