Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Fire Country by David Estes

Fire Country
Country Saga #1
by David Estes
Published: January 29, 2013

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.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Well? It's a David Estes book so even though I only read The Moon Dwellers, I absolutely loved it that when someone asks for readers and reviewers of his book my only answer would be 'Heck, yes!'. I don't know much about this series and when I picked it up I haven't even read the summary so I was anticipating whatever surprise was hidden in it. But I did hear that the Country Saga is a sister series of The Dwellers so I was pretty much expecting something like it. But fret not. Mr. Estes is not the kind of writer who will give you something you are expecting.

Fire Country is a lot different. A LOT. The world-building, for one, made me feel like I was living in a whole new era where there's only heat and drying plants and tents and all that. It really felt like I was living in a desert the whole time I was reading it. I can tell because when I read a sneak peak of the sequel, Ice Country, it actually gave me the opposite feeling - the chills, the fresh and cold air, the more urbane way of living. Yup. Living in yet 'nother world. I am not kidding. You try reading the whole first book and proceed immediately to the second and you'll know what I mean.

The main character, Siena, is used to all the name-calling and punishment she gets everytime she so much as move. She's not physically strong, she's skinny, she has two left feet but reading the book in her point of view is very engaging. She doesn't have many friends but she has Circ who sees the strength in her. I see the strength in her. Many times throughout the book I will say 'poor Siena' or when she does something out of pure will and determination 'what are you doing? no. no. don't!' but then she does and I just can't help but cheer her on saying 'You can do it. YOU CAN DO IT!' even if she really can't. She has a wonderful heart and I just wish everything good for her so when it came to a point where all of my emotions just couldn't take it anymore, I am the one exclaiming 'WHEN WILL THIS MADNESS STOP? THIS SEARIN' HURTS!' like it happened to me instead of Siena. But really, I did cry a river.

What else can I possibly say about this book? Oh, here's one thing. If you are expecting anything from Mr. Estes' books, drop 'em. It won't happen. Just go with the flow and be surprised all you want. It's part of the package. And then you can go ahead and appreciate every new experience these works of art brought you.

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