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Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits
Fire Tales of Elemental Spirits
Author: Robin McKinley, Peter Dickinson
Master storytellers Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson, the team behind Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits, collaborate again to create five captivating tales incorporating the element of fire. In McKinley’s “First Flight,” a boy and his pet foogit unexpectedly take a dangerous ride on a dragon, and her “Hellhound” stars a mysterious dog a...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780441019199
ISBN-10: 0441019196
Publication Date: 9/7/2010
Pages: 304
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 6

4.1 stars, based on 6 ratings
Publisher: Ace Trade
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 4
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

PhoenixFalls avatar reviewed Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits on + 185 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a fairly strong young adult fantasy collection. Even though none of the stories is perfect, each one is engagingly written and features a different creature of fire.

The first, by Peter Dickinson and about the phoenix, is marred by sudden shifts in perspective that feel too rough for the gentleness of the story; however, it features some of the most beautiful imagery of the collection and is one of the more unique premises.

The second, by Robin McKinley and about a hellhound, is very much for animal lovers (which I am) and may be slow through the first five or so pages if you aren't interested in horses, dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles. After that (or if you don't mind that) however, it features the best pacing through its midsection, setting up a fairly large cast of characters for a short story and building a well-realized world with perhaps the best sense of jeopardy. The climax felt a little too easy, unfortunately, but the story as a whole may have been my favorite.

The third, again by Peter Dickinson and about the fireworm, was the most peculiar. It started very badly, with Dickinson's fictional Native American tribe feeling about as authentic as Disney's in Brother Bear. It was, however, only uphill from there, and the climax was incredibly moving, and caused me to feel angry in the best way. Its denoument again felt a bit easy, but the story was worth it nonetheless.

The fourth, the last by Peter Dickinson and about the salamander, was the only total miss of the collection. It started out very strong, but the instant its main character (a young slave boy named Tib in a pseudo-Middle Eastern setting) became emotionally removed from his actions I did as well.

The last story, by Robin McKinley and about the dragon, was the most well-rounded but unfortunately also the one with nothing about it that really stood out. It was reminiscent of her novel Dragonhaven in its male first-person narrator and semi-stream of consciousness style, but this narrator is far less self-absorbed than Jake was, making him likable even in his total denseness about his world. The world was interesting, if not quite believable (there has never to my knowledge been a culture that despises healers -- it's just not realistic, because people everywhere will get sick and they can't work if they're sick), the pacing was steady and the ending just right for the story.

All in all, while nothing in the collection is earth-shattering in any way, it is a pleasant read and suitable for elementary school children and up.
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