Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott
Release Date: February 10, 2009
After losing her parents in a fire that also destroyed her nation, Zira was raised by the Ruan people in the religious establishment, House of God. Raised and soon to become a novice in the House and a fighter, Zira does not think there is anything out of the ordinary in her life. True, she is Surya's, the head or Noirin of the House, favorite, but she trains under a namoa, Deo, until her coming of age and assignment, just like anyone else at the House.
If there's anything out of the ordinary, it is Zira's past. Surya has only told Zira that her mother pulled from a destructive fire, giving up her own life to do so. The fire was caused by the current Sedorne king, Abheron, who also killed the king of the Ruan people and took over his nation. The fire has left Zira's face horribly scarred, but it has not stopped Zira from being one of the most fearsome fighters-in-training. Growing up in the House, the only mother Zira has known is Suyra. With such a sad past, Zira is working for a brighter future, but the only home she has known, and her entire life, crumbles before her as the oppressive King Abheron, orders an attack on the House.
With the destruction of her home, a new truth about her past is revealed: Zira is actually Zahira, only surviving daughter of the murdered Rei, or King, which makes her Reia, leader of her people. She was bravely rescued from the fire by her nanny and brought to the House of God. Now, with this heavy mantle of responsibility thrust upon her, the road forward will be perilous and filled with many difficult decisions. With so many depending on her, Zira will have to step up and lead her people, but when King Abheron learns of her existance, her plans may never come to fruition...
What will Zira learn about this ruthless king, who may just be related to her? What other secrets from her past will she uncover? Her only hope is to choose the right allies and match her wits against Abheron--she is the last chance for peace between the Ruan and Sedorne people. Without her, the sacrifices made by her loved ones will have been in vain. Can anyone fufill such a tall task?
I loved Daughter of the Flames! It was well paced and captivating! I was instantly hooked and honestly could not put this book down! Zira is a strong character (it's good to see a strong female lead!) but her character, and the novel in general, was not overdone at all! Zoë Marriott weaves an intruging coming-of-age story filled with a quest to find and fufill one's quest and role, love, and redemption. The characters learn, among other things, that sometimes, a smaller action can lead to far greater consequences than anyone can dream! I loved the flow of this book! The characters progress nicely and Daughter of the Flames neither rushes nor drags on!
Zira's character is believeable, humble, strong-willed, and brave. Nothing is over the top or over done (some authors get a bit over zealous sometimes, and their characters end up being a bit much), so Daughter of the Flames is a highly enjoyable book!
The only small, minor complaint I have is that Zira and Sorin's relationship was rushed and developed abruptly. Other than that, Daughter of the Flames is a fantastic book that I would definitely recommend--especially to fantasy lovers!