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Daughter of the Flames Hardcover – February 10, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Ruan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—This tale of the last surviving heir to the Ruan throne fails to deliver an emotional punch amid all the flying kicks. Just before she turns 16, orphaned Zira narrowly escapes death when the temple in which she lives is razed by a tyrannical Sedorne usurper. By literally passing through the fire, she discovers her true identity as Zahira, a princess who everyone believed was dead. She immediately takes responsibility for leading the temple survivors to safety and forging a political and potentially romantic alliance with a sympathetic Sedorne Lord. Though the novel has some feisty fight scenes and a number of reliable fantasy themes—love between enemy rulers, evil kings who desire redemption, and rebel forces who arrive at the last moment—the characters' emotions aren't convincing. The most vividly realized details are found in the menus: pistachio pastries, sesame seed bread rings, sour black cherry jam. They suggest a Middle Eastern setting, but the fashion, weapons, rules, and religions are generic medieval European. The story poses some interesting leadership dilemmas and there's plenty of plot, but the narrator has a bad habit of telling readers what she's feeling rather than making them feel it.—Emily R. Brown, Providence Public Library, RI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Marriott’s first novel (The Swan Kingdom, 2008) was inspired by a fairy tale; this second fantasy creates its own world with a complex history of civil war, racial struggles, and religious beliefs. Fifteen-year-old Zira, raised by the Ruan people, bears facial scars and buried memories of her true heritage—she is the hidden heir to the kingdom of Sedorne, ruled by her despotic uncle Abheron. Being half Ruan herself, she represents the possibility of a union between the indigenous Ruan and the occupying Sedorne. When Abheron sends his troops to destroy her home, Zira learns the truth about her identity and sees a glimmer of hope to overthrow Abheron through marriage with a Sedorne lord. Readers of Tamora Pierce will happily immerse themselves in a character not unlike Alanna: a headstrong, feisty teen who glories in physical combat and longs for (and finds) a true soul mate. Marriott’s writing is smooth and compelling; lush descriptions are balanced with plenty of fast-paced battles. A satisfying read for fantasy lovers, with rich backstory, lavish costumes, and a happy ending. Grades 7-11. --Debbie Carton

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763637491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763637491
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've known that I wanted to be a writer since I finished reading my first book; 'The Magic Faraway Tree' by Enid Blyton. I think I was about eight, but I've never changed my mind in all the years since then.

I got my first publishing contract when I was twenty-two, but had to wait until I was twenty-four to see that book published (it was The Swan Kingdom).

I live in a little house in a town by the sea, with my two rescued cats, one called Hero after a Shakespearian character and one Echo after a nymph from a Greek myth. I also have a springer/cocker spaniel called Finbar (otherwise known as The Devil Hound).

Five Interesting Facts:

1. I have nearly seventy notebooks hidden in my desk, waiting to be written in. I still can't stop buying new ones.
2. I can't ride a bike, and I never could.
3. I don't have a single filling in my teeth.
4. When I was little, I was convinced that wolves lived under my bed.
5. I hate bananas.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As I read Daughter of the Flames I thought: This is good, really good.

Zira had strength and purpose, but she wasn't perfect, and her youth translated realistically into insecurities that made her a dynamic character. And Sorin, a man who has considerable strength of his own but tempers it to let Zira do what she must, was a fine example of a "nice guy" that girls too often overlook. He was charming, too, and just a bit incorrigible at times. The relationship was nicely balanced in this story, even when Marriott takes Sorin out of the game, so to speak, forcing Zira to confront her problems with nothing but her own skill and intelligence. Only once did I stumble a bit when their relationship ended up moving very quickly - though not in the physical sense - but it worked itself out nicely, and I was happy with where it went.

This novel also takes a look at religion and the differences and hostilities that arise from varying beliefs. It's not in your face, but the message that all can coexist peacefully is definitely there. God, in this case, is known as the Holy Mother, and she is portrayed as a kind, compassionate force, but she also makes it clear that for every act of kindness, sadness will arise, and vice versa. Again, it's all about a balance.

Marriott definitely has a way with description, which was at its best during action sequences, and when Zira was taking in new sights; these passages grounded the story, bringing it to life in a near tangible way.

This book was oddly calming and definitely satisfying. It was fast paced and not without a few faults. I'm glad to have read it, and well after finishing it, I'm still thinking about it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Zoë Marriott moves beyond retelling fairy tales and fashions her own fantasy world, which is nonetheless firmly grounded in recognizable human emotions. Fully developed characters make this much more than a YA romance, and her heroine is suitably strong and capable without ever losing her vulnerability. Light years beyond the old "beautiful, helpless princess waits passively for prince to save her" AND the "vengeful warrior maiden despises all men and kills mercilessly" genres.
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Format: Hardcover
Fifteen-year-old Zira has been raised in the House of God, unaware of her true identity and with no memory of her family. She only knows they were killed when the Sedorne soldiers invaded Ruan.

Training to become a warrior has become her goal and purpose, but her life changes forever when she learns she has a much nobler destiny.

Zira must learn to come to terms with her new identity as she tries to lead the Ruan people to safety. Her only hope of overthrowing the tyrannical King Abheron is to trust a Sedorne - though she's been raised to believe he's a deadly enemy.

DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES is a mesmerizing fantasy as well as a coming-of-age story told through brilliant prose and exciting plotting. Zira's story moves like a wildfire, burning her character into the reader's memory and heart.

Marriot does a magnificent job of characterization and brings Zira's world to life with ease. I felt drawn to Zira from the moment of her introduction, and the fast pace of the story made it difficult to put the book down.

Reviewed by: Joan Stradling
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Format: Hardcover
I read this back in December I believe but never wrote a review for it, even though I enjoyed it very much. My memory is a little fuzzy on the details but I remember it was aimed towards the Young Adult audience, and it was fun and had a lot of adventure.

It begins with a sort of Princess Diaries set-up; Zira is a princess, but she has no idea, although the reader can basically suspect it from the first chapter. She has been raised in a religious enclave in a kingdom (her kingdom) which has been subdued and conquered by colonizing foreigners. Zira lives a relatively peaceful life at her temple until the cruel King of the occupying forces destroys her home-eventually, Zira finds out her true identity and takes on the duty of leading her people to freedom. She finds some unlikely allies as well as a little romance.

I thought this book was great fun and Zira is a good role model for the young girls who are (hopefully) picking up books more like this and less like Twilight. Hmph.

It was a little strange and funny how, yesterday, while reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (review upcoming), the story line and various images from Marriott's novel all of a sudden popped into my head! I spent the longest time thinking about it because I couldn't remember the name of the book, the name of the author, or even the name of the main character-I only remembered specific images and a very disjointed plotline. It was so strange. I couldn't stop thinking about it and then I had to go online and look over my checkout history on my library's website to find it. Then I looked through this blog and found out I'd never reviewed it. Hm.

That means the story must have really stuck with me, and I'm not surprised Catching Fire jolted it into my mind because both novels have heroines in similar situations.
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Format: Hardcover
I've had my eye on Zoë Marriott's second novel, DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES for several months. So I was happy to see it pop up on my Cybils reading list. I've read several books lately that have had an Asian/Middle Eastern flavor to them and was surprised and very much pleased to find DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES did as well. This was my first novel by Ms. Marriott and I was both looking forward to giving a new author a shot and in the mood for some more traditional fantasy. It's also worth it to point out the rather lovely cover this novel sports. The flames and curlicues are swirlingly lovely, enough so that the fact that Zira doesn't look quite as I pictured her isn't any kind of stumbling block at all.

Zira is a trained warrior. A novice with a face full of scars and a forgotten past, she perches right on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday. At the same time she anxiously awaits her superior's decision on whether she will join the ranks of the namoa or be sent to tend the temple livestock for the rest of her days. Born a Rua, Zira belongs to a conquered people. The Sedorne rulers overran the peaceful country of Ruan and the current king, Abheron, rules with an iron fist, encouraging his lords to crush the Rua under their feet. But behind the deceptively peaceful temple walls, rebellion is in the wind. When a surprising series of events lead Zira to save a young Sedorne lord's life, she is set on the path that will lead her to places she never expected, where, frankly, she would rather die than set foot. But it is Zira's fate to be more than she is, to combine the hopes and fears of two races in one body, and to be savior to a nation.

I was drawn in very quickly.
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