Wednesday, April 10, 2013
My review of Fire Starter by Gloria Clover (Children of the King, book 2 - can be read as a stand alone)
Three generations ago, wooded Celosia Island burned in a fire storm. Now the government keeps the island safe through limited trade and rare immigration. So it is unsettling to Princess Amaryllis Filippopoulos to learn her father has invited an off-island prince into residence to translate some ancient scrolls and to marry her, his youngest daughter and heir to the throne.
Prince Valryan Molan has been sent to present to the people of Celosia the reality of the King, even though He is not readily perceived by the five senses or logic, the Stoic beliefs of Celosia's ancestors. Valryan finds his mission hampered by his bride's reluctance to marry and the immediate need to protect the people from illegal fire weapons.
But none of that compares to the unexpected fire storm Amaryllis ignites in his heart.
This story blew me away. I found myself engrossed to the point where I thought about the book all the time. The story was achingly beautiful. The heroine Amyaryllis was strong, yet vulnerable in that she feared any kind of weakness. The hero was similar, but in a very masculine way. Valryan was probably the most heroic character I've read in the past year. I loved how the author showed his struggle to follow the King in everything that he did, from his gut-wrenching honesty, to his complete humanity. He was by no means a feminine-thinking man, which I think made me love him more... because he thought like a man would think. Too often we female authors soften our male heroes up to the point that they are not realistic. This author created a spiritual man in Valryan who was thoroughly lovable and very masculine.
The way Valryan talked to himself and cried out to the King when he struggled was especially powerful. I loved how he sought the King to help him have more faith and to believe that the King's Word to him would work out in the end. His desire for everyone to know the King was heart-warming and enviable. I loved how he nick-named his wife sparky and how he used that to tease her in a loving way. Their growing relationship was breathtakingly beautiful.
I loved the faith aspect of this book and how the author showed the progression so beautifully. She touched on the heart of humanity and the desire for purpose and meaning. She also touched on the fear that often keeps people from the truth and how loving someone like Christ loved us does indeed -- over time -- draw the lost to the King. We just need to be patient, consistent, and genuine in our relationships with those we love. Of course, we can only get that kind of strength through constant communication with the King.
The message about marriage was especially strong as were the truths that the hero learned through the King about how loving Him first made everything else the way it was intended to be. I found their joining prior to his wife knowing the King to be especially powerful since it reflects on the human love that often leaves us very insecure and dissatisfied in marriage. With the King's presence in marriage, however, the is beauty of marital love is beyond description and His presence is indeed with us. We need to use that reality to give us courage and strength. We need to be willing to trust the King completely. The way the author showed how the hero being trustworthy increased the heroine's ability to trust the King was incredibly insightful. So was the way salvation was described to someone who didn't even believe in God, and the revealing of the Scriptures. Awesome, awesome book. I'd give it ten stars if I could.
Fire Starter was published by Desert Breeze and released in August 2012.