Series: The Country Saga #1
Published by David Estes on January 29th 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy & Magic
eBook provided by Won
In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely. Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.
Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with. As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
This is my first David Estes book. It won’t be my last. Fire Country is an unforgettable fantasy about the a girl coming into her own. I am blown away by the world this author created and the strength of the characters within.
Siena is a scrawny little girl about to be put through The Call. The Call is a ceremony every girl in her village goes through when it is time to choose a mate and become a bearer. She will have a child every three years and share her mate with two other women. This is her fate, along with every other Heater woman in the village. All the men are warriors. The problem is that the mate she would choose for herself (Circ) is the same age as her, and not old enough for The Call ceremony. When she hears rumors of other tribes, she dreams of a life free of Heater tribe rules, a life she could live with Circ. Although I am making this sound like some sort of a romance, it is SO MUCH more than just that.
Siena is unlike any heroine I have ever read. Get this, she has no super powers, she is scrawny and weak, she is just a normal girl and not a fighter at all. It was so easy to relate to this powerless girl in the midst of a hopeless situation. I love that the characters in this story are so damned real. Siena deals with bullying and struggles with her self-esteem, just like any other girl at age 15. Her friend Circ is such a dreamy option for her, except he isn’t really an option. I could feel her frustration at the bleak look of her future. Her best hope is to get a mate she can tolerate, and have sister wives that are accepting.
The world David Estes imagined is really unique. The Heaters live in Fire Country, and their lives are full of hot desert and something called the Fire that kills everyone off eventually. There are Icies that live over yonder. They don’t mix at all. Also their are a few rogue tribes: the Wildes (an all women tribe, they might be a myth), the Marked (all men, also they might be a myth), the Killers (self explanatory, they seem to have no motive other than to make the Heater’s numbers smaller). With all of that going on we get a hot plate of tension between the Heaters and everyone else.
I loved learning about how the women in this world cope with the rules in the Heater village. The only time they are free is as younglings, under the age of 16. Some women try to go rogue and end up dead before their Call, other get kidnapped by the Wildes (according to rumors). Neither is really an option for Siena. This story takes us through the time of Siena’s call and into the next chapter of her life.
The author uses very vivid descriptions to show us the heat, the sandstorms, the living conditions, and the struggle of this world. Siena is the star of this book. We get Siena’s POV only. But I have to admit, my favorite parts of her came out when she started talking to PERRY. On the edge of madness, Perry sets Siena straight and sprinkles a bit of humor into this tale. The language was a bit crude in this book. I found that listening to the conversations was easier than reading them, (thank you kindle text-to-speech). The language gave this book a bit of believability that straight English might now have allowed. Don’t worry, the author was kind enough to explain the slang with an index in the beginnings.
Siena’s story in Fire Country is a great adventure. She has a great friend in Circ, a supportive mother, and a few good friends throughout this story. Despite her physical limitations, Siena is able to overcome much and her character growth was amazing. I am very much looking forward to where Siena and the rest of the tribes will end up next.
I won this book and a few others from a contest on David Estes site. He is really down to earth and his blog is a mix of personal posts and sneak peaks into his writings. In researching his social links for this review, I also found that David Estes has a Goodreads Group that is very active with giveaways and read-a-thons. His facebook page has an Authorgraph option. Clicking that, I was able to get this.
That is on my kindle, how cool is that?
Thanks so much for voting for me to read this book in the Make Me Read it Read-A-Thon. I loved it!