Friday, September 11, 2009

Firebird

Title: Firebird

Series: Firebird Trilogy #1
(Reviews here for books two and three)

Author: Kathy Tyers

Genre: Adult Sci-fi

Excerpt from “Prologue” of Firebird:

Lady Firebird Angelo was trespassing.

Shadowed by her friend Lord Corey Bowman, she squeezed and twisted through a narrow, upright opening between two dusty stone walls. She’d paced off twenty meters in silence. Her eyes had almost adjusted to faint gray light from ahead and behind. Growing up in this palace, she’d explored it thoroughly and cautiously during her childhood. She hadn’t tiptoed between these particular walls since she found the gap, four years ago, when she was fifteen. If she remembered right, then in ten meters more—

Something rattled behind her. She froze. If anyone caught her and Corey this deep in the governmental wing, they could be done for.
Powers help us! she prayed silently.

Slowly, she turned around. Corey crouched three meters away. He pointed at a loose stone and cringed a silent apology.

Time hung suspended, like a laser satellite passing overhead. They waited motionless, hardly even breathing.

Evidently, the Powers weren’t feeling vengeful—if those supernatural guides even existed, which Firebird had started to doubt. The soft voices behind the curved inner wall kept droning on, incomprehensible from this point in the hidden passage.

Firebird crept on.

The rough partition on her left enclosed an elliptical chamber. Inside, the highest council in the Netaian planetary systems held its conferences.

An heiress, destined to die, fails on a suicide mission, only to be captured by a most unexpected enemy.

The Craft: Firebird was my introduction to contemporary Christian science-fiction and fantasy. Recommended to me at one of my first writing conferences, I immediately fell in love with the story and characters, devouring the whole trilogy in days.

But I’ve learned a thing or two about stories and writing since then. Stories that were so much fun—well, sometimes they have glaring problems, unseen by me at that time.

So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I returned to the series this summer. Was the trilogy really as good as I remember?

It turns out that no, it isn’t. It’s even better than I remember.

What pure delight. The story, even though I knew the gist of the plot, immediately recaptured my attention and I fell in love all over again with Lady Firebird and General Cadwell.

The plot is intricate with plenty of twists. The characters are complex and vivid with personality. The science-fiction world is drawn in great detail without explanations or descriptions becoming overbearing. The storytelling is simply well-balanced.

Of course it doesn’t help that I’m a sucker for an underdog, and spunky Lady Firebird ranks as one of my favorites.

The Content: The content of Firebird doesn’t disappoint either. The themes and spiritual threads—pride, grace, spiritual blindness, hope, gift of life, God’s majesty, the list could go on and on—are tightly woven into the plot. Yet they are never preach or dominating. They are simply part of the story; without them, the novel would unravel.

There is some violence and killing, but it done cleanly, with no graphic images to burn into the mind.

Summary: Firebird remains the best example I’ve found to date of bringing together a fast-paced, well-told story with a spiritual depth that will provide much to chew on. Though now out-of-print, I highly recommend every sci-fi/fantasy reader to do what they can to read a copy, both teens and adults. It is also an excellent example to study for writers wishing to write a great story with spiritual depth.

Rating: Craft—5, Content—5, Overall—4.9 out of 5 stars.

3 comments:

Rachel Rossano said...

I absolutely love the Firebird trilogy too. I am glad you agree. :)

Brandon said...

I've got to get my hands on Kathy Tiers books!

Chawna Schroeder said...

Rachel- I'm glad to find someone else who enjoys the books.

Yes, Brandon, you should. Unfortunately they can be hard to find, since they are out of print. :o(