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Daughter of the Flames by Zoë Marriott Review

Title: Daughter of the Flames

Author: Zoë Marriott

First published March 3, 2008

362 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9781406308617 (ISBN10: 1406308617)

Rating: 3.75


Zahira, a young woman of the Rua people, lives in a country occupied by the Sedorne. She has been brought up to hate and distrust the Sedorne, while following her native religion.

But when her home and foster family are destroyed, Zahira discovers shocking truths about her heritage and real family. Zahira realizes that it is her responsibility to stop the violence and chaos that is destroying her country.

She must accept her Sedorne roots and try to build a bridge between the warring cultures. However, when her own people accuse her of treachery, Zahira faces an almost insurmountable task of bringing peace to her land, especially after she saves the life of a Sedorne nobleman and falls in love.

About the Author

When Zoë was just eight years old, she discovered her passion for writing after reading Enid Blyton’s ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’. Since then, her dream of becoming a writer has never wavered.

At the age of sixteen, Zoë completed her first manuscript, an embarrassing romance novel. She continued to write and submit her work for publication, receiving rejections from nearly every publisher in the UK and two in Australia.

Finally, at the age of twenty-two, Zoë landed her first publishing contract. However, it wasn’t until she was twenty-four that her book, ‘The Swan Kingdom’, was finally published.

Zoë’s literary achievements include being longlisted for the Branford Boase Award, shortlisted for the Leeds Book Award and the Lancashire Book of the Year, and winning a Junior Library Guild Selection, a USBBY Outstanding International Listing, the Hillingdon Book Award, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Prize.

Throughout her writing career, Zoë has worked a variety of jobs, including admin assistant, dental nurse, civil servant, and reader for a literary scout. She has also designed and led over one hundred creative writing workshops in schools and libraries.

From 2017-2019, she served as the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at York St. John University.

Currently, Zoë lives in a cozy house in a seaside town with her energetic spaniel, Ruskin, who goes by many nicknames, including Demon Dog, Trash Puppy, Snaggletooth, and Supervillain in Training. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the Open University and working on her first novel for adults.

Editoral Review

Daughter of the Flames by Zo Marriott is a riveting YA fantasy novel that offers a fresh take on the classic stories of elemental magic. Marriott merges Japanese folklore and fantasy with ease, creating a captivating story that will appeal to all lovers of the genre.

The novel follows the journey of Zaria Tourmaline, a sixteen-year-old girl who is an elemental mage, capable of controlling fire. Zaria spends her days as a circus performer with her chosen family until she is abruptly thrust into a destiny that she can barely understand.

As it turns out, Zaria is meant to become the leader of her people, a group of elemental mages who have been persecuted by humans for centuries. In order to claim her position, Zaria must retrieve the elemental talismans that have been stolen from her people, including a talisman that belongs to her.

Along the way, Zaria meets a group of allies, including her sworn protector, her love interest, and two other elemental mages. Together, they face off against powerful enemies and uncover deep-rooted secrets that will change the course of their lives.

Marriott’s writing style is elegant and immersive, and she creates a vivid world that draws the reader in from the very first page. The character development is spot-on, and Zaria is a nuanced and relatable protagonist.

Marriott seamlessly integrates themes of family, identity, and power dynamics into the narrative, offering insight into Japanese culture and folklore. One of the biggest strengths of Daughter of the Flames is the pacing of the plot.

Marriott manages to maintain tension and excitement throughout the story while still allowing time for character development and world-building. The action scenes are well-choreographed, and the stakes feel appropriately high.

That said, there are a few weak spots in the novel. At times, the story relies a bit too heavily on tropes of the genre, and some of the character arcs feel predictable.

Additionally, the romantic subplot feels somewhat underdeveloped and rushed. Overall, Daughter of the Flames is a fantastic addition to the YA fantasy genre, and Marriott’s skillful storytelling and excellent world-building make it a truly immersive read.

Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir will find much to love here.

Rating: 4/5.