by Sarah Micklem
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
383 pages; ISBN: 0743247949
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Scribner, Jun 2004, $125.00, 383 pp.
When the wellborn Dame who employed her died and she was raped by one of her Blood employers, fifteen years old low caste mudfolk orphan Luck moved into the wilds of Kingswood. There she began eating berries that caused hallucinogenic reactions. No longer feeling like a lowborn drudge, she renames herself Firethorn and gives thanks to the Goddess for gifting her with special skills.
During the Upside Down Days, Firethorn meets Blood, Sire Galan. She agrees to serve as his sheath and bedmate as he joins the King’s army in Marchland. Firethorn and Galen begin to fall in love, but her loyalty and his trust are tested by his sexist-caste prejudicial superior and his odious malevolent cousin even as her healing powers and other adept proficiencies surface that may separate the pair even further.
This opening gamut introduces the fantasy genre to a new delightful voice. The story line is exciting, fast-paced, and insures the mysticism feels genuine whether it is healing, seeing in the dark, or an out of body trek in a shadowy realm. The support cast enables the audience to learn more about the Micklem universe especially the caste system that subtly is condemned. Fans will rejoice with this newcomer whose casts a compelling spell on readers anxiously awaiting the second tale.
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