Children of Fire
Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra
Children of Fire begins in the grand tradition of many of the oldest of the Fantasy Epics. In fact, in the acknowledgements at the end of the book; the author refers to many such epics as his inspirations for writing this book. The problem with this is that most of those epics were conceived and even published back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Many people forget that even if they have fond memories of such works from their childhoods. They don’t necessarily stand up to the modern works we have today in style or scope. The first 150 pages of this book are wasted on the birth and youth of the main characters of this book. And in my opinion, this is the most uninteresting way you could possibly begin a story. I’m not saying that nothing happens. BY FAR, this beginning is a a clear preamble laid naked at the feet of the reader. Most readers will either get incredibly bored or just try to skip ahead, “to the good part.”
I soldiered through this, mostly because I felt an obligation to give the book a chance; also, because I thought that at SOME POINT, the author would skip ahead in time and bring us to the story proper. Which did happen on around the 150-170 page mark. From there on the author takes us on an interesting journey with lots of action, magic, and intrigue. Did we have to know the backstory of all these characters to care about them? No… Did we need some of the inner monologue of some of these main characters when their stories don’t even end in this volume. I wouldn’t think so…
The author is truly a master of world building. The acknowledgements also say that it took him 20 years to create this world. I will be very interested to see what further books and further stories spring from this detailed and well realized vision.
Once the reader gets through to about the middle of the book they are surly into the meat of a fine Fantasy Epic. I would recommend this title to any fan of the genre. I’m not sure what I would say about the first 150 pages. Except, be assured it WILL; in fact, get a whole lot better. With some clever editing on the part of the author or the editor this book would have easily achieved a 5 star rating. Also, an actual, rather than an implied promise of a sequel may have also helped the book’s case.
As it stands, I truly loved half the book; which is great. Because there are many cases where I can’t even say that much.