Review of ‘Daughter of Fire’ by Karen Frost
With some disappointment, I have to say I have mixed feelings about this lesbian young adult fantasy book. Parts I was really impressed with, others just rubbed me the wrong way. I do want to say that I know I can be a bit of a fantasy snob. I have read so many mainstream and lesfic fantasy books that I can be a bit picky. I would suggest reading other reviews to help decide if this is a book for you. I was very happy to see YLVA even put out a fantasy book since they are so few and far between for this publisher. YA or adult fantasy I don’t care, I just hope we will be seeing more fantasy from YLVA in the future.
This is YA fantasy with a main character Aeryn who is 15 and eventually 16 years old. There is no romance in this book but Aeryn does have a crush on a slightly older girl. I was fine with no romance and considering the age of the main character, I hope that if there is a romance in future books it remains on the sweet YA side unless the characters age.
I did find the writing to be well done. There was only once or twice I found myself thinking this is getting a little info-dumpy, but considering this a fantasy book and first of the series, so little info-dumping is impressive. Frost’s writing felt very readable and I believe this book will be approachable for even non-fantasy fans. The problem I had was not in the way of the writing but in the story choices.
The character of Aeryn is very naïve due to her age and background so it made her character feel passive. What I mean by that is everything kept happening to Aeryn. She wasn’t controlling her own destiny and choices and I hate passive characters in spec-fic. It is not literally until the last two pages, that Aeryn makes her own choice but then the book ends on a weak cliffhanger.
I’m calling it a weak cliffhanger because I was not impressed. It was supposed to be this big reveal but it wasn’t a reveal for us readers, it was a revelation for the character instead. As a reader, we have actually known since almost the 30% mark what really happened so the so-called “big reveal” felt like a weak way to end a book. Also, the length under 200 pages, who writes a fantasy book that short? I want a big sweeping epic fantasy book, not something that feels like it was broken into two pieces, two books for some strange reason.
Maybe I’m being a little grumpy but did anyone else find it weird that Aeryn cannot read or write a lick, but they put her in a history class where the other students are taking notes? How can she even write an answer on a test when she is just learning how to copy the alphabet?
While I definitely had my issues with this book, I see a lot of potential. Since this book was cut so short, I’m assuming book 2 will still be when Aeryn is a child. I’m hoping that if this series continues beyond book 2, it will fast-forward to Aeryn being an adult. There are so many openings and possible places for this series to go when Aeryn is older and I hope we will get to read about it. I’m tired of passive Aeryn, I want ass-kicking Aeryn instead. 3.50 Stars.
An ARC was given to me for an honest review.