Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Throwback (re)Read: Winter of Fire

Winter of Fire, Sheryl Jordan
The only thing I remembered from reading this book as a young teen was how the protagonist, Elsha, looked.  You know why?  Because her description didn't match the cover art -- apparently I won't let go of having been wronged, so.  (At least her hair colour, basic clothing configuration and necklace are accurate...but the physical description is very specific and that is not the face described.)

Reading this YA fantasy (+sci fi -- if we must classify, it's technically the latter as well) as an adult, and more than 20 years after its release, the book is still enchanting;
  • The world-build is beautifully done.
  • Most of the characters are strong, and when little time has allowed us to grow close to them, I feel like I surrender to trusting they are as Jordan tells them to be (instead of takes time to show).
  • The themes and battles of the story are all very relevant still -- I think a teenager now would still lose themselves in this easily.
  • The end solution is a little...er...surprisingly warm and fuzzy for such a bleak narrative...but for a YA book, I think it works.
  • There is a lot of low-level sensuality, some moving towards hot, but it is all framed in a different world and culture -- one wherein slaves commence working in the mines at age 5 and are assigned sexual partners because they are considered akin to beasts.  This world means the 16-year-old heroine is very adult, young, and so colours her attractions and relationships.  I found it surprisingly steamy in sections for so little wordage describing a touch here or there.  
  • So you gather from this ^, it's dark.  But the protagonist's hopeful and revolutionary slant which makes the dark setting bearable.
  • There's no swearing, violence is alluded to rather than gratuitously described.

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