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Firefly Island Paperback – August 27, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of gentler fantasy will welcome Arenson's novel. In a land divided among four people, each with their own magic-Stonesons, who control stone; Esiren, who share thoughts; Helands, who have the power of healing; and Forestfolk, who emulate beasts-the servant girl Aeolia discovers she's the Esiren Firechild, who embodies Esiren magic and alone can harm the Stoneson ruler, Sinther. Some not terribly realistic battle scenes may be too bloody for younger readers, but those who enjoy such traditional fantasy devices as love at first sight and princes raised as commoners will be rewarded.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

When six-year-old Aeolia was sold into slavery to an ogre, her brother vowed he would find and free her some day, and she promised to never use her unique talent for making others feel exactly what she felt. Ten years later, men from the kingdom of Stonemark search her out because she is the only one who can hurt their king, who has become stone so that no physical weapon can harm him. Their arrival gives Aeolia the opportunity to flee the ogre and launches her on a quest that will bring friendships with the Firechild of the healing Helands and the shape-shifting Forestlands Firechild while she strives to free the Esirian refugees and liberate all Firefly Island from evil King Sinther's despotic rule. The violent and gory world Arenson has created is filled with interesting details and cultures; although the characters never quite come alive, he is an author to watch. Tixier Herald, Diana --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Moonclipse (August 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0986602833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986602832
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,320,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's hard to describe everything that's going on in the novel, because it has a complex plot with a lot going on at once. It reads like an epic fantasy, with multiple main characters, but is more tightly written than most epic fantasies, fitting nicely into one (admittedly rather long) book. If you enjoyed the complexity of epic fantasies but could never make it through multiple 700+ page books, you'll definitely enjoy this book.

The gist of it is that Firefly island is divided up into four distinct races (and countries). Each race has its own distinctive look and ability. One race is telepathic, one can manipulate stone, one can heal, and the last can (I think) turn into animals. Each race has a "firechild". One firechild is born every 100 years, and the firechild is gifted with abilities far above the other members of their race. Fireflies glow with a particular color when a firechld is alive, so, say, when there are four living firechildren, fireflies come in four different colors.

So that's kind of the background. The plot of the novel is fairly simple -- one firechild has set himself up as king over his people, and has turned himself into stone. No one can hurt him -- except the Esiren (telepathic) firechild, who can make him feel what she's feeling, so he can't kill her. When the fireflies indicate the Esiren firechild has been born, the king sends his son (Prince Lale) to slaughter all the Esirens, in the hopes of killing the firechild through sheer dumb luck, I guess (there's nothing physically by which you can differentiate a firechild from a regular person).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading all the glowing reviews and praise I purchases this book sight unseen. And for the first few chapters I was riveted. Those chapters were nuanced, chilling, and skillfully executed--so I know it's well within the author's ability to craft entertaining and engrossing stories; however, after those first few chapters it seemed like the author ran out of steam because the story went way downhill, completely imploding under crushing banality. Whereas I'd read the first few chapters with enthusiasm, soon I found myself skimming pages in search of where something interesting might happen. And eventually, at around 70% of the book I simply couldn't take it anymore and could read no further. What's wrong with the book? Well, after the first few chapters the pacing falls apart, the tension evaporates, and the characterizations become trite and empty. The main character is adored by everyone she meets, overcomes obstacles with nary a difficulty, and falls "in love" with the first guy she meets because he's really swell. So reader beware, this book by this author is just another one of those cheap kindle books self-published by an author who can't be troubled to keep his end of the bargain by writing a good book. In my opinion this book wouldn't be worth reading even if it were free. I certainly wish I hadn't wasted my time or money on it. This is simply a very poor effort by an author who can do far better. If you buy it anyway, don't say I didn't warn you...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would have preferred to write up a review for this book a month ago, but whenever I've sat down to write it I couldn't come up with the words to use that actually displayed my thoughts on this book. At this point I've just given up and am writing it anyways. But I enjoyed this book enough that that was my response to it - wanting to write up a good review for it and not being sure how to get across what I enjoyed.

One thing I found that it excelled at was developing a world. It's not as in depth as the masters, but I don't expect anything to the level of Tolkien's world development from anyone who isn't a linguist before a writer. However even such, there was a world to go with the plot, not a plot that sat in an undeveloped world. The world as a whole definitely influenced my thoughts on the book, because it made the entire story more real.

The characters were also real. I enjoyed their flaws and how they were brought out. The magic that was involved mixed well with the characters who possessed it. It didn't define them, as I've found it does in some fantasy, but develops the character further.

The plot is simple, but well written enough that it keeps the pages turning. There are twists, some of which I really enjoyed to the point where I shared them with my boyfriend. An individual take on a simple plot without being straightforward was solidly enjoyable.

If you enjoy epic fantasy, then this book is absolutely worth picking up. If you enjoy fantasy in general, but don't find epic fantasy your favorite, it would still be worth picking up. I found the writing style one which would not be difficult to follow for people who don't enjoy the extreme epic fantasies as well as solidly enjoyable for those of us who do enjoy those.

I would consider this one of my favorite books. 5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Overall: 5 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 4 3/4 Stars

While the plot was a bit on the trite side, poor slave girl finds out she is mega important to the world all along, the storyline offered enough variation on the theme to keep me interested enough to not want to put the book down. For instance, the "slave master" of the girl was a giant troll. That was new and different.

The opening scene was heartbreaking, yet intriguing. I really love a good opening scene that makes me want to keep reading. Mr. Arenson could not have started his novel in a more alluring manner. The storyline was straightforward, mostly linear, and filled with plenty of intrigue and action.

My only detraction was that I got a little tired of Aeolia's whining a few times. Not that she didn't have good reason, especially early in the book. It was more that she just kept expounding on the same issues both verbally and mentally a few too many times.

The setting was filled with imagination. The ending was a little gingerbread-ish, but satisfying.

Character Development: 5 Stars

One thing about myself I have discovered is that when a book is told from multiple viewpoints, I tend to get bored with one or more of them and have a "favorite" that I just wish the entire book centered around. So, I am always very pleased to find a book with multiple viewpoints where each of them are equally enjoyable. Each of the viewpoints in this novel were entertaining and fascinating. I do admit to having "Aeolia" as a favorite, even with her whining, but it did not detract from my enjoyment of the others.

All of the characters were equally well developed. Mr. Arenson insured that the reader got to know all of them equally and empathized with each.
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