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Firegold (Sunburst Books) Paperback – March 24, 2003


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Paperback, March 24, 2003
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Michael Vey 4
Featured New Release in Teen Science Fiction & Fantasy

Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 17 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Sunburst Books
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374423113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374423117
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,199,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Everyone in the Valley has brown eyes--except 13-year-old Jonathon. Ugly rumors about Jonathon's beautiful red-haired mother are surfacing among the self-righteous Valley folk, as are whispers about her son. He's beginning to worry that he's a "loony-blue," one of the blue-eyed, red-headed Dalriada--the much-feared mountain people who have magnificent horses, mystical powers, and horns growing out of their foreheads. After his mother's sudden death, the whispers grow to angry threats, and Jonathon escapes the Valley and goes in search of his heritage, his manhood, and his true love. In the mountains he experiences a mystical rite of passage that takes him to the Dalriada encampments, through caves echoing with his own spirit voices, to the very top of the world. From the mountain peak he carries back one of the legendary Firegold apples--a gift that brings reconciliation with his father and his rightful home among the Valley people.

Fantasy lovers will enjoy the vivid images and original ideas of this shimmering tale, with layers of philosophy about bigotry, narrow-mindedness, and true identity adding emotional depth. This complex, imaginative first novel bodes well for future titles by Dia Calhoun. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9The girl is hiding behind a large boulder across the river when Jonathon Brae first spots her. Her cap seems to have little horns, her hair is flaming red streaked with gold, and her eyes peer at Jonathon with the same blue sparkle that his have. Then, in an instant, she disappears. Jonathon is terrified. A Dalriada! What is a barbarian doing so far from the Red Mountains? Are they raiding the Valley? He runs home to his loving parents, brown-eyed like the rest of the Valley people, and steps into the middle of an argument. His mother wants his father to wait until Jonathon is 14 to take him to the Red Mountains to hunt; Brian thinks that 12 is old enough, but he leaves without the boy. When he returns, Karena is incensed at the gift he has brought for his son: a black colt with gold streaks in his mane and tail, Rhohar or king of the Dalriadas horse clans. The arrival of this animal changes everything in Jonathons life as he strives to understand what it is about the colt and the Red Mountains that calls to him, why dark ridges have appeared on his forehead, and if he is going crazy as the Valley folk claim. In an all-consuming search for identity, Jonathon sets forth to face any obstacle to become whole. In the tradition of Robin McKinleys The Blue Sword (Greenwillow, 1982) and Lloyd Alexanders Prydain Chronicles, Jonathons quest evokes a timeless struggle for identity amid vivid imagery, heartbreaking loss, and a subtle weave of fantasy.Melanie C. Duncan, Washington Memorial Library, Macon, GA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I first read this book when I was in eighth grade.
"sartilwen"
Some of the people who oppose him are a bit too narrow-minded for outright believability, but that is a very small flaw in a very good book.
E. A Solinas
A mix of legends, Indians, ancient ways, and reality!
Crystal

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
If Dia Calhoun continues writing such works as this and "Aria of the Sea," she may become the next Robin McKinley! This book is wonderful, emotional, deep, but all wrapped in simple prose and style.
It centers around Jonathon, a teenage boy who has something that no one else in his native Valley has: blue eyes. Rumors flit about his mother, by the people who live in the valley and suspecy that the young boy is a Dalriada. The Dalriada are viewed as barbarians by the Valley folk, with their horses and astounding powers. They have blue eyes -- and, according to others, they also have horns from their foreheads. The Valley inhabitants fear that, as Jonathon reaches adulthood, he will go insane -- and mysterious welts are rising on his forehead, where horns would be...
These rumors reach their peak when Jonathon's mother dies, and he is accused of bringing a blight down. He must leave his home for his future, among the Dalriada. He will go to the ends of the world and back again, with the Firegold apples that will help him -- and those he loves -- to their destiny.
This book is elevated from a usual coming-of-age novel via Calhoun's beautiful prose and style. Her fantasy world is very similar to ours (a reference is made to a grandfather clock) yet the mythos and mystical experiences are different. It also brings to the forefront the disgusting bigotry and prejudice, without being heavy-handed in the execution.
Jonathon is a wonderful character, growing in strength and complexity as the book progresses. Some of the people who oppose him are a bit too narrow-minded for outright believability, but that is a very small flaw in a very good book.
I advise all admirers of good fiction -- fantasy or otherwise -- to check into this book. (I also advise you to read her second novel, "Aria of the Sea," which I am half done with)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Firegold is a very adventurous and exciting book. Most of the events are very surprising, but some can be predictable. I can't think of one particular climax, the book seemed to have many. The book started out a little slow, but well before half way it grew very riveting. The most important part of the book was when the main character figures out that his father didn't like him, so he doesn't belong anywhere. The book had plenty of character development. In the beginning, the main character is very unsure of himself, but he goes through some major changes and becomes strong minded at the end. I think the supporting characters were good, and very different than each other, making the book more interesting and thickening the plot. The setting of the book, in a valley and in mountains, doesn't seem too exciting. When you actually read about the setting, it is more complex and interesting than meets the eye. The book in all has a good lesson about belonging and trust, which not many others have. I suggest you go out and read Firegold; its worth your time!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Firegold is a very emotional book. As Jonathan, the main character, struggles through his mysterious life, he faces threats from many people. Jonathan's traits, which are different than the rest of his countries, send him on this emotional ride. Soon he must leave his home and join his own "race" of people---the Dalriadas. They are mystical, magical, and mysterious Indians.
The plot is not predictable. Why, when, and how events and people are doing what they do and happening are not told to you right away, and that is what keeps you reading the book. Because of the way it is written, Firegold could be classified in several different genres. They include the following: Adventure, Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Historical Fiction.
Firegold has a few violent but necessary scenes. When Jonathan joins the tribe of Dalriada, he must follow their ways, which is inappropriate for immature teens and children under 11.
I'd rate it for mature audiences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith G. Hoffman on December 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I first read it in 4th grade, when I was searching through my dad's bookshelves. I have read it about forty times and it just keeps getting better. I didn't like how the end left off, so I even wrote another chapter to the book. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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A Kid's Review on May 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The journey this book takes the reader on is unforgettable and mystical. The way Calhoun wrote the story is awesome! This is a tale of sadness and triumph. This book warmed my heart, it is a treasure amoung other fantasy books, but it is also a book where the main charachter becomes a new person. The ending showed me that you must forgive the people who have hurt you, especially the ones that hurt you the most. The mountain people, the Dalriada, sound so beautiful and graceful. I would rather be a Dalriada, wild, fierce, strong and free, instead of the plain prejudiced valley people. I felt that Jonothan's mother was with him through his whole journey to cleanse his heart and soul, and also his body. This book is a must read !
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Format: Hardcover
With Firegold, Dia Calhoun has established herself as a writer of great promise. Set in a world like, but then not like, our own, Firegold is at once a coming of age story and an immsensely satisfying parable. It is easy to identify with Jonathan's confusion about his identity and physical changes as he struggles to distinguish himself and find his place in society. The atmosphere of ignorance, mistrust and betrayal that pervades his valley has an authentic feel to it, while the perceived threat of the Dalraida nicely parallels many circumstances in our own world where a fear of the unknown is often more destructive than the thing itself.
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