Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Review: Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox

Sixteen year old Canny Mochrie has always been a little different.
She's never known her father, she's always had a calculating, mathematical mind, and she's always been able to see something Extra.

When she begrudgingly joins her older stepbrother on a trip to research a strange coal mine disaster that happened thirty years earlier, she wanders into a nearby enchanted valley, occupied almost entirely by children who all have the same last name and who can perform a type of magic that makes things stronger and better than they already are. With the help of the alluring and somewhat threatening Ghislain Zarene, who is held hostage by a powerful, out-of-control spell for his part in that mine accident long ago, Canny starts to untangle the mysteries of the valley - only to find that its secrets are her secrets too.

I've been reading fantasy books since I was young but never one by a New Zealand author, so I jumped at the chance to read and review Elizabeth Knox's new novel, Mortal Fire.

As is to be expected there are certain elements that often make up a fantasy book (fantastical world, dragons, magic, adventure, etc) and after a while it becomes hard to find one that is truly original.

Mortal Fire is just that.

The book is set in 1959, in a parallel universe much like our own. It feels like the real world (as opposed to a fantasy world) and Canny is a teenager of that time - except shes different and she knows it. I love books that have strong main characters and Canny is certainly that. She is beautiful, intelligent, cunning and is the main driving force behind the story, pushing the boundaries at every turn. Hers is a story of friendship, love and self discovery, she knows exactly what she wants and doesn't let anything stand in her way.

While the book may feel slow going to start with, it is extremely easy to read. Elizabeth Knox writes in such a way that you can't help being drawn in and the back stories all help to give you a better understanding of the characters and the world in which they live.

But what makes this book truly unique is the magic system. It feels real and fits perfectly into the world that Elizabeth Knox has created. There is a sense of mystery about it that keeps you wanting more.

A lot of the story is left open to interpretation but all the loose threads come together at the end to provide some answers and the ending is such that there is definitely room for a sequel should Elizabeth Knox choose to write one (which I hope she does).

Rating: 4.5/5
Note: I was not paid to write this review. 
I just love books/reading and want to share my passion with you. 


Simoney said...

Hi Fay!! Thanks for entering my giveaway - I had to come over and see your blog, and bingo, what do we have here? a Book review! I am a mad reader and I loved Elizabeth Knox's earlier novel (the name escapes me) - so pleased to see she has another one. I loved the way she writes. I'd LOVE you to link up your book review (and any other ones you do) to Mrs Readalot's Book club linky. It's open all the time, no need to jump through any hoops. Just share great reads with other keen readers.
Good luck on the Makeover giveaway - I'll let everyone know the winner next week.

Simoney said...

Fay - I've just ordered Mortal Fire from Book Depository - thanks so much for your recommendation (and for linking up)