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Firethorn (2005)

by Sarah Micklem

Series: Firethorn Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3691753,923 (3.56)15
A sumptious love story set within a quasi-medieval world. A foundling child, Luck -named for the colour of her god-favoured copper hair - is fortunate to be taken in by one of the Blood. She remembers little of her past. Her parents are a vague and teasing memory, but service in the Dame's household is better than that of most mud folk. She is beaten rarely and is fed well, and, under the Dame's watchful eye, Luck is even permitted to learn herb lore. But her comfortable world is turned upside when the old Dame dies, and her nephew arrives to claim his inheritance. Choosing to remain with her friends rather than claim her freedom and strike out alone, Luck's life is calm until her exotic looks attract the attentions of her new master...… (more)
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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 16, 2021 |
Meh.

Not enough fantasy elements to really scratch that itch for me, but never committed enough to the romance to fully explore that relationship - this felt like a good idea of a novel that didn't quite get there. ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Sep 17, 2020 |
At some point when I was 15 I got really into capital A-Adult fantasy stuff, which in hindsight is a little weird
  ibazel | Aug 7, 2020 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)

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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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A sumptious love story set within a quasi-medieval world. A foundling child, Luck -named for the colour of her god-favoured copper hair - is fortunate to be taken in by one of the Blood. She remembers little of her past. Her parents are a vague and teasing memory, but service in the Dame's household is better than that of most mud folk. She is beaten rarely and is fed well, and, under the Dame's watchful eye, Luck is even permitted to learn herb lore. But her comfortable world is turned upside when the old Dame dies, and her nephew arrives to claim his inheritance. Choosing to remain with her friends rather than claim her freedom and strike out alone, Luck's life is calm until her exotic looks attract the attentions of her new master...

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