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Winter of Fire (Point) Paperback – January, 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a grim future world where the sun has vanished from the sky, people glean what warmth and light they can from the firestones mined by an untouchable caste known as the Quelled. Countless taboos are shattered when Elsha, an idealistic and rebellious Quelled girl, is chosen to be handmaid to the Firelord--the man revered by those calling themselves the Chosen. Traveling in the privileged class, Elsha encounters ugly, unthinking prejudice; she also meets a few relatively enlightened Chosen men, who cannot help falling in love with the feisty maid. Spurred on by a hatred of injustice, Elsha battles against sexism, improves life for the Quelled, and even (it seems) hastens the return of the sun to her world. Because there is never any real doubt that Elsha will inherit the Firelord's mantle, there are moments--especially as the harsh spectacle of life in the mines recedes--when her various victories grow a bit predictable. But this is a minor quibble; taken as a whole, the stalwart heroine's visionary struggles are nothing short of inspiring. With a spare and effective style, Jordan brings Elsha's chilly world into sharp focus with a minimum of description. Elsha's exploits will appeal to fans of Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

From Jordan (A Time of Darkness, 1990), another tale set in an ecologically devastated future. Living in treeless mountains under cold perpetual clouds, human society has split into two classes: the autocratic Chosen and the despised Quelled, who mine the coal that's the only available source of heat. To general consternation, the ruling Firelord has picked Elsha, an angry Quelled teenager, as his new and only Handmaid; she vows to better the lot of her people, though it means battling centuries of prejudice. Though the scenario here is promising, Jordan focuses on Elsha's thoughts and smoldering spirit to the exclusion of believable plot development, background detail, and even character (Chosen and Quelled alike seem sketchy and unrealized). Meanwhile, Elsha sounds like a walking essay (``Your treatment of us is wrong, evil and unendurable,'' etc.); when she becomes Firelord after a perfunctory, awkwardly inserted battle, her decrees meet no determined resistance from Chosen who've previously responded to her with violent hatred. The emotion is affecting here, but relationships are confused rather than complex; loose ends dangle from the long, predictable story, and Elsha is unchanged by her experiences. (Fiction. YA) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Point
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Point; Reissue edition (January 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590452894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590452892
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #527,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
Even though this book is loved beyond words i will try to describe it for you. It's about a teenage girl and her struggle against prejudice. It left me a changed person, inspired to live my life differently. I was also inspired to write this review by the worst review of this book I have read. That review was from Kirkus reviews. They stated that the main character sounded like a "walking essay", and that the relationshipes throughout the book were "confused rather than complex." This review is a far cry from the actual book and the reviewer has failed to find the message in the book. The book taught me about the struggles people will endure when fighting for something they believe in. Being a young black woman (now years after my first reading of the book) I applied this to my life and strugglers I have had to endure. This is a great book for young women to enjoy. I strongly recommend reading this book, and hope it will become one of your favorits too.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book as a 8th grader in middle school. I only read it because it was the thickest book in the library, which ment it worth a lot of points. From the moment I opened this book I was in the story, and I could feel everything that was going on, I was really there. I can still see myself there and feel the story, I remember the entire storie and it was 6 years ago that I first picked it up. I would have to encourge that this storie be read by all children and adults, as it takes you to this place of adventure and sadness. I believe that all parents should read this storie to their children. It will bring you and your child closer together.
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Format: Paperback
I am not a reader of many books. I cannot seem to find a book that can keep my interest for very long and i almost never finish a book. There are 3 books that have caught my attention and heart. Winter of Fire is one of them.
I have read this book over a dozen times and find myself wanting to start reading it all over again when i am finished. It is hard to express how i feel about this book in alot of words. All i can say that it is outstanding! The determination of the character and the beauty,love and chaos of the book so well written i can literally see it unfolding in my minds eye.
That is when a book is truely a great when you feel you are there living it with the character. It is certainly a must read. I had this book for a long time and since lost it. I have found it here in this amazon web site and will surely own it again with the great price here!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Winter of Fire for the first time in sixth grade ten years ago. I devoured the story, and it never really left me. Unfortunately, Winter of Fire is out of print, but every time I went to a used book sale I searched for it, until I finally found it for cheap on amazon a few years ago. This was my third time reading Winter of Fire, and I have to say, it never gets old.

Winter of Fire is definitely a middle-grade book, which was a little hard to get used to after reading so many young adult books lately, but I quickly slipped back in to the story. Elsha is one of the most fiery characters I’ve ever come across in any type of literature, and she won’t leave you without a fight. She’s defiant, strong, and ruthless in her pursuit of justice and ending oppression for her people. She knows there’s more to life than what she’s been given, and she doesn’t let obstacles get in her way easily.

Every time I read Winter of Fire, I see more of the themes of feminism and justice than I did during my initial sixth grade reading, but even then, I could tell that part of Elsha’s character was about deliberately being a strong female. In Elsha’s society, the female Quelled people are the lowest class of citizens, barely better than animals. They’re not even granted the title of woman–instead, they’re called “Harsha”. It may be her lot in life, but Elsha refuses to submit quietly, and I love her for it.

This story is actually less action-oriented than I remember. Elsha does have adventures and dangers ahead of her, but what’s more important is the people she comes in to contact with on said adventures. She encounters an entire spectrum of reactions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A young woman goes outside in the dark, cold hours of the early morning. She is met in the cabbage gardens by a man who will change her life. So begins the story of Elsha, a woman with soot under her fingernails, a slave's brand on her forehead, and a fire in her heart that can't be extinguished.

This book was one of the first fantasy books I read when I was young. It remains one of the best, and is often the ruler beside which I measure many similar books. It's not very complicated, not nearly as rich in histories as many other books. That's part of what I love about it. While a rich past makes for a better book in many circumstances, Elsha's story is told by herself, an uneducated slave with simple views and unfogged beliefs. The past matters not nearly as much to her as the future, and her conclusions are based on the current events, injustices, and hypocrisies that she sees during her travels. It makes for an intriguing point of view and a story that cuts to the heart of the matters therein.

As of the writing of this review the book is no longer in print. It was difficult to find, but when I did find it, I snatched it up. This will be one of the books that stays in my library for many years to come.
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