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Daughter of the Flames Hardcover – February 10, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 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 (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,181,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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: Kindle Edition
Favorite Quote:
"But even though I was not looking for him so determinedly, I failed to come across him anywhere."

I quite enjoyed Daughter of Flames. It was very easy to read and I devoured it in a few short hours. I liked the whole book, it had a very nice flow and I was never bored or rushed. I greatly enjoyed specific scenes (the first fight and the wedding especially) and I enjoyed the characters. I mean I totally want a wedding like that. Seriously.

Zahira was a strong female lead. I didn't find myself wanting to slap her face off (which is always good right?) and I liked how she could take care of herself. She was good with swords and arobatics. I especially enjoyed how acrobatics took place in the fight. I love the idea of flips and almost dance-like moves in battle. It's lovely to visualize and I think it makes the battles more exciting. Her descriptions of the battles were straight fantastic. I felt as if I could really see what she described. Very well done.

There was that bit of insta-love but not quite on the atrocious level. Yes things moved quickly but it wasn't just love...but politics as well. Something you don't see as often. Did she fall in love with him quickly? Yeah, but there was some time passage that was briefly mentioned so it makes more sense looking at it that way. I liked Sorin, her love interest. He was fun in the beginning but I would have preferred just a bit more of him included. His humor was fun in the scenes that we got it.

I liked the play of emotions. Not everything was easy, there was betrayal, confusion, doubt in herself and her choices and I revelled in it. I liked to see that not everyone dropped their life to follow her and her choices. Not everyone thought she was right.
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Format: Hardcover
As a young woman whose appetite for books could never be sated, iI thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I couldn't get enough of it! I was turning the pages faster than ever! I really enjoyed the themes and the plot. I discovered this book in my local library at 15. Five years later, I remembered how much i loved it, so i'm buying it. That's how good it is, in my non-professional opinion.
I kinda agree/mostly disagree with the negative reviews also. Sure, it was a bit rushed. So what? I enjoyed it! It is NOT one of those books that lets you get bored in the middle, or frustrated because its been a week and you still haven't finished it. This book keeps your fingers turning the pages madly, eager to see what happens next!
I read some comments that said the characters were hardly fleshed out, and that Zira fell in love with the Sedorne lord too quickly. Remember that she is trying to unify two warring countries. She might as well TRY to fall in love with him quickly, for the sake of peace. It's not like a marriage will solve it; she had to show the people that they were in love, and that if they could be at peace, so could their countries. It was a necessary part of the story, and part of Zira's struggle.
And also, this is not an adult book, this is a YA fictional novel. I see no reason to go overly in-depth, analyzing the characters with a magnifying glass and picking apart "flaws". This is the story that you can make a cup of tea as you're reading, before blindly making your way to your favorite spot to read (as your nose is stuck in this excellent book) sit back, enjoy yourself, and just READ.
So read it, hungry readers. Feast your eyes, and sate your appetite with this delightful novel.
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