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Firethorn by Sarah Micklem
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Firethorn (original 2005; edition 2004)

by Sarah Micklem (Author)

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3431548,380 (3.55)15
Member:Mav.Weirdo
Title:Firethorn
Authors:Sarah Micklem (Author)
Info:Scribner (2004), Edition: First Edition, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Female

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Firethorn by Sarah Micklem (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I am wildly in love with this book. It is told through the eyes of Firethorn, a foundling mudchild who grows up under the kind but stern tutelage of a Dame of the Blood. Firethorn learns herblore and pride from the Dame, but after her mistress's death she is adrift. Too proud and grief-stricken to serve under the Dame's nephew (who rapes her, btw--this is not a cozy book), she runs away to the Kingswood. She lives there for a year, nearly starving poisoning herself on berries in the meantime. Finally, she crawls back to the mudpeople's village.
A chance meeting with Sire Galen, a bold and handsome knight passing through, leads her to link her fortunes to his. She follows him to war. Their passion for each other is in constant battle with their prideful natures and the vast gulf between their stations.
Micklem has written a remarkable book. It is not a romance, although love and lust play powerful roles in the plot and Firethorn's motivations. It is not accurate medieval history, although Micklem's detailed and nuanced world seems an alternate to our own. It is not even fantasy, because it is never clear if Firethorn's herbal remedies and incantations are magic, science, or coincidence. It is an often brutal, sometimes sweet, tale of a young woman surviving in a society that holds her unclean and unworthy. The battles, tourneys and love scenes are intense, but no more so than the roiling inner life of the main character. I could barely take my eyes off the pages, and in fact I ended up being half an hour late to work today because I needed to finish it. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Firethorn is a self-named woman, tutored by the Dame of the house and touched by the gods. When Sire Galen asks to take her away to the war, she leaps at the chance to escape the drudgery of her world. But little does she know it's hard to keep love alive in the middle of war where there's arrogance and wagers and little love for women.

I actually picked this book up because I read the second book first on accident.
I hate this book. It is written without too many flaws, the grammar is sound and the sentence structures flow well. The action is done correctly and I do want to the turn the pages to find out what happens next. But oh my freaking goodness, the amount of misogyny found is this books is mind blowing to me. It confuses me that this book is written by a woman.

Women are whores in this book, useless except for acting as men's decorations, or sex of course. There's no way to say no to a man's advance unless you have a man to guard against. What the heck? There are so many lines in this book that make me so freaking angry. The way the men talk to the women. The way the women talk about themselves. The way anyone treats women. And the worst of all, there is no character that even mentions these problems - as if the issues are common and acceptable. Argh, I can't even. It's fine if it's done for some sort of commentary on women and war, but if this type of misogyny is treated as acceptable without any counter philosophy or objection, it's as if the reader should accept it as well.

Micklem tries to pass Firethorn as a strong independent female character, but really all she amounts to is a girl hanging onto a sugar daddy, really.

This book is all about sex and trying to be the man's favorite girl. There is literally no plot except that.

The only redeeming factor is that I was interested enough in the magic system and healing draughts.
But that will never be enough for me to overcome the fact that this book treats women as second-class citizens. No, probably worse. Like objects.
One star. Not for writing style or not being interesting, but because there is an underlying (enormous!) problem with the whole presentation of characters.
Not recommended at all unless you just love reading about how women are not worth anything except for sex. ( )
1 vote NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Firethorn is a self-named woman, tutored by the Dame of the house and touched by the gods. When Sire Galen asks to take her away to the war, she leaps at the chance to escape the drudgery of her world. But little does she know it's hard to keep love alive in the middle of war where there's arrogance and wagers and little love for women.

I actually picked this book up because I read the second book first on accident.
I hate this book. It is written without too many flaws, the grammar is sound and the sentence structures flow well. The action is done correctly and I do want to the turn the pages to find out what happens next. But oh my freaking goodness, the amount of misogyny found is this books is mind blowing to me. It confuses me that this book is written by a woman.

Women are whores in this book, useless except for acting as men's decorations, or sex of course. There's no way to say no to a man's advance unless you have a man to guard against. What the heck? There are so many lines in this book that make me so freaking angry. The way the men talk to the women. The way the women talk about themselves. The way anyone treats women. And the worst of all, there is no character that even mentions these problems - as if the issues are common and acceptable. Argh, I can't even. It's fine if it's done for some sort of commentary on women and war, but if this type of misogyny is treated as acceptable without any counter philosophy or objection, it's as if the reader should accept it as well.

Micklem tries to pass Firethorn as a strong independent female character, but really all she amounts to is a girl hanging onto a sugar daddy, really.

This book is all about sex and trying to be the man's favorite girl. There is literally no plot except that.

The only redeeming factor is that I was interested enough in the magic system and healing draughts.
But that will never be enough for me to overcome the fact that this book treats women as second-class citizens. No, probably worse. Like objects.
One star. Not for writing style or not being interesting, but because there is an underlying (enormous!) problem with the whole presentation of characters.
Not recommended at all unless you just love reading about how women are not worth anything except for sex. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
This one started off slow, but once I got used to the period style, I was hooked, and ended up thoroughly enjoying it, possibly more than I expected. The book is basically a romance set in a sort of alternate medieval times. What little touches of fantasy are present are very subtle. Overall the book is pretty straightforward period literature. Class and the structure of this little society were a big part of the book, and everything was very well drawn, down to the last detail. I'm glad to know it's a planned trilogy... I'm curious to see What Happens Next. ( )
  unsquare | Feb 6, 2014 |
Although this book has some of the trappings of a historical/fantasy romance, it isn't one. "Gritty" has been overused of late, but this book is well-described thus.

Perhaps by writing in the first person it's easier to keep the narrative level. Both amazing and horrible things happen, yet Firethorn, our narrator, is very matter-of-fact about most of them.. which makes the ones that affect her deeply have even more impact.

Also, unlike other series such as "Game of Thrones" and "The Hunger Games", I do not get the feeling from the writing that the author is delighting herself with just how "gritty" she can be. I can see a lot of research went into being able to depict a fantasy (only because of the existence of magic; a denizen of the Middle Ages might not find this book fantasy at all) Middle Ages from the POV of one of its least-valued members socially, and illuminate the world and society via that perspective. Very, very well-done!

I just ordered the second book in this trilogy; the third doesn't seem to be out yet. I hope it gets written and published!

Also, as an aside, the society looks somewhat ripe for a peasant rebellion; maybe when the Big Cheeses are away at war? I am ALWAYS keen to read of a good peasant rebellion in fantasy novels, rather than having everything be all about the nobles, or one peasant lad or lass who- such a surprise!- turns out to be Noble after all! ( )
1 vote cissa | Jan 20, 2014 |
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To Cornelius Eady
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I took to the Kingswood the midsummer after the Dame died.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743247949, Hardcover)

A mysterious foundling with unique red hair and strange god-given powers, Firethorn is condemned to life as a powerless servant--or so she believes, until one of King Thyrse's noblemen becomes her lover. But, as she accompanies Sire Galan to war, Firethorn discovers she may have traded one form of bondage for another. A soldier's mistress--even a high-born soldier's mistress--is despised as a "sheath," or camp follower. Also, Firethorn's nasty ex-overlord, Sire Pava, has joined the king's army, and she has made a new enemy in her lover's cousin and closest friend, the sadistic Sire Rodela. However, she and Galan share a fiery love that will surely overcome the opposition of both their personal enemies and their kingdom's enemies. Then Sire Galan makes a strange, heart-shattering wager that may not only ruin his honor, but get them both killed.

Bloody, insightful, emotionally wrenching, and beautifully written, Firethorn is the impressive first volume of an epic fantasy trilogy. It's also an astonishingly assured debut novel that foretells Sarah Micklem's place among authors like Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jacqueline Carey, Terry Goodkind, and Rosemary Sutcliff at the top rank of high fantasists. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:58 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"Firethorn flees a life of drudgery to live alone in the forest, relying on her knowledge of herb lore to survive. She returns transformed, indebted to the god who saved her life, and blessed - or cursed - with uncanny abilities and a nagging sense of destiny. After a few nights of dalliance with Sire Galan, a high-caste warrior on his way to join the king's army, Firethorn seizes the chance to go with him, only to find she has exchanged one form of servitude for another." "The army readies for war in the vast encampment of the Marchfield, where men prey on each other and women dare go nowhere alone. Among the lowborn harlots and the highborn dames of the camp, Firethorn learns to use her gifts as a healer, venturing into realms of dream and shadow." "Desire drew Firethorn and Sire Galan together, but love binds them - a love that has no place in the arrangement between a warrior and his sheath. When Galan makes a wager with disastrous consequences, Firethorn uses her gifts to intervene in his fate and learns just how hard it can be to tell honor from dishonor, justice from vengeance."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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