Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff

The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy
Add on Goodreads


AARON. Clan Heir, he has fled his people when his beloved was slain by his own father's command, abandoning his training, duty and beliefs to become a thief. A master of his trade, he now dared the odds in Ischia, city of the volcano, where the price of being caught was death.

DARVISH. Prince of Ischia, third son of a king who had no intention of giving up his throne. The prince was a drunkard, a lover, and a wastrel, yet was gifted with sword skills and with the ability to charm all around him. But not even his charm could free him from the political marriage now being planned.

CHANDRA. Born a princess, she had chosen to become a Wizard of the Nine, that rarest of beings, able to master all the forms that sorcery could take. Now, promised as Darvish's bride, she undertook a desperate journey to Ischia to convince him they must not wed.

Aaron, Darvish, Chandra--three strangers whose fates were about to become interwined. For someone had stolen The Stone, the magical talisman which stood between Ischia and the volcano's wrath. And unless the three could learn to work together on a quest to find the Stone, Ischia would drown in a sea of lava.

 "My sword, your brains, and her talent…that wizard with the stone doesn't stand a chance."

I knew I'd like this book. This is the fourth Tanya Huff book I've read (though those were all sci-fi) and I loved the previous three, so I knew I'd like this book. I just didn't expect to adore it quite as much as I do.

Besides loving Huff's other books, and wanting to read her fantasy work, I also have been wanting to try reading some LGBTQA friendly fantasy. The romance in this book totally fits - and it's not the focus of the story. So, yay! (As an added bonus, Huff herself falls somewhere on the LGBTQA spectrum.)

And there is also lots of non-stereotypical gender roles. I mean, I know I've gotten so used to the guards being all men that it's a bit of a surprise - and that's just sad - when you have a squad that's mostly women. Or a girl as a page instead of a boy. No fuss is made over this, but it's still very nice to see.

Unsurprisingly, the characters in this book is what totally makes it for me. They are all wonderfully flawed, imperfect people and they are so beautiful because of it. Each character starts out being a little…awkward. None of the three really know how to have friends.

One of the guys, especially, tends to shut down if people get too curious about him or if he thinks they expect too much. And the girl has pretty much no social skills and has the tendency to ask too many questions. Most of the character development comes in the form of them becoming something more than a means to an end for each other.

Which is why the plot works perfectly.

A mystical stone (the titular 'Fire's Stone) that is protecting a city/state is stolen and two of our heroes are tasked with retrieving it - with the third one just deciding to take up the mission as well.

The plot is fairly straight forward, kind of a quest type plot, and it opens up the book to lots of character development because through most of the story, these three people are traveling together and have no one else to rely on.

The world building is - there? I mean, if something is important to the plot, you learn about it. But if it's not, it's not really brought into focus. Which, I love. I mean, I love fantasy books so heavy world building is kind of expected. This book though, it doesn't have all the extraneous details.

They travel on a ship - but instead of that being an opportunity to describe what the ship looks like, it's layout, the construction of it and its entire history since the wood was just little sprouts, (okay, I exaggerate - but not by much) the ship is just that. A ship.

So, beyond characters that were flawed and wormed their way into my heart immediately, this book was a nice change of pace from the heavy world building fantasy.