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10 thoughts on “Fire Bringer

  1. says:

    I've discovered that what most people think when they look at this book is "It's an epic fantasy about deer? Well, unless you're some kind of deer lover, it's got to be boring, right?"

    Wrong.

    In his debut novel, Clement-Davies spins a world of incredible, realistic fantasy. Much as he did later in "The Sight," he populates this world with prophecies, myths, dark forces, spirits, gods, and unlikely heroes and heroines. And the result never ceases to amaze me.

    High in the hills of Scotland, amid one of the herds of proud red deer, a fawn is born to the stag captain Brechin. On that same night, Brechin is murdered in a dark plot by the tyrannical Drail, who seeks to make the herd, and eventually all the deer in the valley, his own. But Brechin's calf, Rannoch, is in grave danger. For he is born with a white oak leaf on his forehead: the sign of a prophesied hero who will rise to bring the true ways of the wild back again. But not before he has endured an unimaginable quest.

    In a tradition as epic as any ancient mythical hero, Rannoch and his friends, a wonderful and diverse cast of characters that are fantastically written, must travel into the heart of the wilderness to seek sanctuary from Drail. Like "Watership Down," this book makes you take a closer look at an often dismissed animal, into you are pulled so completely into the adventure you can't believe you ever thought deer were boring.


  2. says:

    This book tries to be a Watership Down with deer. The problem is it is too much of a Watership Down with deer. It doesn't really stand apart from Watership. It is a pale imitation for three reasons. The first is many of the characters are cardboard cut-outs, either based off of the rabbits from Watership or off of stock characters that appear in novels. The second reason is that the world-building that Clement-Davies does for the deer doesn't fully make sense. There are small errors in it that stand out and make the deer's world a little unbelievable. The third reason is that Clement-Davies does not have the use of language that Adams does in Watership. Normally this wouldn't be a problem,but because Fire Bringer draws heavily from Down it becomes one. The difference in usage made me want to hurry up and finish Fire Bringer, so I could re-read Watership Down. Fire Bringer is a good first attempt, but not a great book.


  3. says:

    One thing - I really really REALLY don't like Clement-Davies' writing. You might even come to say that I despise it with a fiery passion. But it seems like no matter what I do, I keep being drawn to his books. First The Sight, which I really despised. Then The Telling Pool, which was so boring that I seriously felt myself losing brain cells. WHY did I keep reading his books if i absolutely positively hated did not like them??? Well, I was browsing books, and I wandered over to the C's. I saw "Fire Bringer". Do not pick it up!, I told myself, No, no, NO!

    As you probably already guessed, I did pick it up (the cover is really pretty, btw... A certain shade of blue mixed with- Ok, I'm shutting up now). And I'm thanking my lucky stars that I did. Nowadays, all the books are about "dark" girls that are all, "Oh no! I can't choose between him and him! Ahhh this is torture!!!!" and lame love stories that make you wish you had a trashcan nearby. This was a fresh breath for me. I don't really like "old-recent" books, (this was published in 1999), and I am usually browsing the new releases to find a half decent book or some such. Point is, this isn't my typical book. So if I enjoyed it, I'm betting two thirds of you guys also will.

    This is about a deer. (Surprise, surprise. I'm sure you haven't guessed that from the cover.) And I'm not going to list all about this book because if you really want to know you'll read the synopsis.

    So, one big thing I really liked is that it wasn't lame. At least not for me. I have a big problem with talking animals. Animals. Do. Not. Talk! So if you are writing on a point of view about animals, make it believable and not lame. Please. Spare humanity and the trees that will die to publish your terrible book. Like his previous book, The Sight. It was about talking wolves. But it was lame and boring and all kinds of other things that make up a book with a title called: Do Not Read Me I Suck B- moooooving on...

    Thankfully, this book was believable most of the time. And while I'm sure deer don't contemplate in the way Clement-Davies wrote about, it was still slightly believable.

    Only bad thing- the book tends to focus on something boring, like the description of a herd gathering to attack, for a long period of time. It starts getting all icky and UGH. Nobody likes run-on descriptions. Especially Chuck Norris.

    I thought this book was agreeable and a lot of fun. It transported you into a way different world, but since you knew so much about that world from his descriptions, it was actually fun.

    The end (actually the very last sentence) made me sniffle... But that's life.


  4. says:

    Oh, dear! Mild Spoilers ahead!

    Normally when selecting a book there are a few key factor used into deciding wether I want to bother picking it up or not. I'm very lucky I didn't physically see this book in a store, or I don't think I would have bothered with it at all. I know it's rather shallow of me, but books with such small font are intimidating to me since I am usually such a casual reader. I usually get headaches from reading such long books, and this one is a whopper at nearly 500 pages!

    I have to say though, I am very grateful I decided to pick this one up. As a kid, I loved anthropomorphic fiction. (The Poppy series and Watership down were some of my favourites,) and I wish I had heard (or herd, if I want to continue with my bad deer puns,) this book sooner because I just know I would have loved it in middle or high school. Everything about this story was believable and epic. Such a huge story with a huge array of characters is usually difficult for me to follow since I take longer to read such small-printed books, but I had a difficult time putting this book down. I was surprised with myself, it only took a few days to finish.

    I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves animal fiction. It takes its readers seriously without being too dull, there is always something happening. Also, I'd like to point out, this is the first time in a long time I have found a book I absolutely love that the author didn't kill off my favourite character. Though my second favourite (Poor Peppa!) met a less fortunate end, I am glad to see that Bankfoot came out all right in the end. Overall, this book is great. It was pure, delicious adventure that left me wanting more.


  5. says:

    I should change my category of "children's literature" to young adult literature, but I digress. My nephew recommended this book with rave reviews, and he was dead on with that. As soon as he finished this book, he read it a second time, which is quite a commitment in a rather long book, with much smaller print than most young adult novels. This book is reviewed as being a "Watership Down" but with rabbits, and that seems like quite the fair assessment. It is set in Scotland about 400 years ago, maybe more, and is about a herd of red deer. The protagonist Rannoch seems to be the chosen one, fulfilling a deer prophecy, and he is a wonderful and conflicted hero, seeking to figure out what he is meant to do in this world as he flees for his life from his herd that is being destroyed and changed from within. The book grapples with questions of faith, and if there is a God, or if religious stories and myths are only true and real in the way that all stories are real. Unlike many young adult books, it doesn't deliver a clearcut answer to the reader about this, and instead just trusts the reader to make up their own mind about the world, and to dwell in what is unknowable. But it is not all heady stuff, but rather is mostly just a wonderfully action packed adventure story filled with friends taking care of one another. Strongly recommend this to any young readers, ages 10 or up, or any adults who like kids literature.


  6. says:

    As a little fawn, Rannoch is born with an oak leaf mark on his forehead that signals the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. When his father is murdered on the very night of his birth, Rannoch must be hidden and kept safe from the eyes of the tyrant deer lord, Drail. As Drail gets closer to discovering Rannoch's true identity, Rannoch and his friends must flee to the North, propelling them on an epic journey towards freedom and healing for all the deer in Scotland.

    It took me awhile to get into the flow of the story. There are far too many characters, some of them with similar names, making it difficult to remember them all, and the writing spends way too much time explaining boring details ad nauseum. But once the story began to move, I enjoyed the adventure, the characters, and the world-building of the deer herds and their culture. But then I was disappointed in the ending. It needed more flair, and it didn't deliver quite the epic conclusion I was looking for.

    A good read, but not amazing. The writing could have been more polished, and the plot needed better pacing to keep the story moving forward.


  7. says:

    A Watership Down for Deer!

    It took me about two pages to get into this book. To be honest, I know almost nothing about deer and I was a bit lost at first by the descriptions of their bez tines and trez tines but that turned out to be a very small hindrance indeed. The writing is superb and I found myself frequently thinking back to the story during the day between readings and wondering what would happen to the characters and whether or not they would be OK without me.

    The parallels to the nativity story in the beginning of the book are almost unnerving. They seemed too blatant to be unintentional so I watched closely throughout the book to see what the author intended to do with them but nothing ever came of them as far as I could see. Perhaps doing nothing was exactly what the author intended. I don't know.

    On the whole, this was a book I enjoyed reading very much for the experience it brought me on, but I don't think it left an indelible mark on my life. But, of course, a week is usually a bit early to know that.


  8. says:

    I barely made it through the book. The author does not understand the storytelling concept of "don't tell me, show me." Instead of that he gives you "I will show you and THEN also tell you in case you missed it the first time. And while I'm telling you I'm going to explain the significance just in case you weren't paying attention to the story or are too dumb to follow along." It was arduous trying to make it through and completely distracted from the story, which wasn't a strong narrative to begin with. The characters were very one dimensional and the story predictable. I'm pretty sure this is a children's book.


  9. says:

    This is a TOTAL must read. I simply loved this book. Yes, there was bloodshed. Yes, some parts were sad. But this was AMAZINGLY written. To write so perfectly from the POV of a deer? Wow. This book deserved all 5 stars even though, as I admitted, it's gory and very sad at times. And the ending is happy...but sad. READ THIS IMMEDIATELY.


  10. says:

    I didn't realize until this rereading that the plot of this story is lifted almost wholesale from Watership Down. Obviously, there are some adjustments for species, as rabbits and deer don't behave in precisely the same way, but the amount of overlap on major plot points is large enough that I'm surprised I didn't notice it sooner.

    That said, I don't think this is a bad adaptation. In fact, I think it's very well done. This is still one of my favorite books, and I will fall back to reread this one in future.

    Extra points for talking animals that still behave mostly like animals. You'll like this book if you liked the Warriors, Seekers, or Survivors series.