In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.
Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low that the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn 16 and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.
Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.
As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.
©2014 David Estes (P)2016 Podium Publishing
Reading is a passion and an obsession.
I originally received a copy of this book in 2013 from the author in return for an honest review, which I duly posted. However, I am now editing my review to incorporate listening to it in audiobook format, which I purchased through Audible UK.
This audiobook is narrated by Khristine Hvam. I must admit that when I heard her narration I thought to myself, 'This doesn't sound like the Siena in my head as I pictured her.' However, as I listened to her speak, I realised that her voice is perfect for Siena's character. She brings a charm and warmth to the story. She also gives each character their own voice and accent, which brings them to life. Her diction is clear and precise and easy to listen to. I would definitely consider listening to more books narrated by her.
My original review:
OMG! This is a fantastically brutal dystopian novel. I LOVED IT!
Siena is a fantastic character! She is a young lady that I greatly admire. Her determination, independence and grit astounded me. As her sixteenth birthday looms, she has to make a decision that will change her life.
As I started reading this book, I was completely pulled in to a world that has been devastated by a disaster of biblical proportions. The Heaters are a tribe living in the most unforgiving conditions I have ever encountered in the pages of a book, but somehow, they manage to survive. Raging sandstorms, fires and unrelenting heat would sap the energy out of anyone, but these people have gained my respect with their ingenuity and sheer determination. I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat more than once, as the story unraveled. I also found myself on a rollercoaster of swinging emotions; from disbelief, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, joy, a few other mixed ones and back again! However, it is their laws that I found myself railing against. The one where they have to force girls of sixteen to procreate for their survival. I can understand the need to survive as a tribe, but it's the way they go about it that made my stomach clench! I wanted to shout "perverts", but as they are fictional characters, they wouldn't hear me! However, there are some really likable characters that redeemed the tribe in my eyes. These are Siena's friends: Circ and Veena. Circ is one of her closest friends and a wonderful character. He is a Hunter and the same age as Siena. Veena is a year older than Siena, and has already had a baby. Her attempts to get her no-good Call (mate) to take care of the baby made me giggle! This book is peppered with a whole slew of tribal slang, but it reminded me of some words I could picture the Australians saying (no offence to the Australians, I love their slang!). There are also a fair few twists and turns in this book that kept me hooked from the first page to the last! I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the series!
David Estes has written a fantastic dystopian novel that has turned me into a huge fan! I love his writing style, which is fast paced and extremely fluid! His characters came alive, and the descriptions of the environs left me breathless! I am looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love YA or Dystopian genres. - Lynn Worton
Note, review is for all 3 books as a whole.
I listened to this series of books as I enjoyed the dwellers saga and the 4th book of that series is also the 4th book of this series, so thought I might aswel listen to these. the books themselves are good enough, nothing that's going to blow your mind but ok really. I do quite like how multiple story's of several main characters all end up tying in together.
my main gripe would be the accents of the ummmm.... voice actors?? I don't know what they are called but they truly are awful. The replacement of curse words for "scorchin'" or "icein" is a tad annoying but a bit if a gimmick and not the end of the world but overall I find the reading, accents and pronunciations really annoying. but overall worth a listen I suppose but dwellers saga is far better.
"Imaginative take on post-apocolyptic society"
Fire Country follows a small village of hunters who live in post-apocalyptic America hundreds of years after a meteror strike. The main character, Sienna, is a girl who is an outcast and ultimately doesn't want to follow the path expected of her by her father or her society.
This book is full of action and some mystery. It not only covers Sienna's struggles, but also her village being in several battles and attacks from those who mean to eradicate them. Most of the characters were very interesting and some showed some amazing growth. A few were somewhat flat the whole way through (Sienna's father, for one). Unfortunately, Sienna's situations are often of her own doing, and she doesn't grow quite as much as she could of.
The novel tries to tackle a lot of complex themes like family, law, what is expected of you, choices one must make to survive, etc.
When I first heard the narration, I was taken aback by the very strong southern accent. It wasn't at all what I expected of the character and I found it quite distracting. However, after a few hours I got used to it and Ms. Hvam actually did a great job expressing SIenna's sass and those moments of extreme duress.
This is one of my favorite series and only gets better in future books.
"Love this series!!!"
Wow, this book blew my breath away. It had everything I wanted in a book. I’m confused about which series of David’s I love more. The Dwellers or this one. I will say as much as I love Adele and Tristan (and their circumstances were quite different), I love the relationship between Sienna and Circ. It was just, amazing.
The story had me on an emotional runaway train. There were highs and lows and everything in between. Siena was a strong character which much to lose and little to gain, yet she did what needed to be done when needed. She’s the kind of character I admire. And it’s been a long time since I felt this way. (Rose from Vampire Academy the only other one).
There are many lessons to learn and several characters to love and an equal number to hate. It will be interesting to see where this series goes. I absolutely can’t wait.
My book boyfriend Circ.
The narration was fantastic. I've listened to this narrators as Jane in the Jane Yellowrock series as well as another urban fantasy series. So it took a moment to hear those voices and not associate them with the other characters.
"Brilliant performance, loved this!"
Having read Fire Country twice before in print, I still wasn't prepared for the breathtaking performance of Khristine Vham as Siena. This is without a doubt my favorite audiobook EVER!
I was driving home from a late night work meeting when I got to those final chapters. The emotional depth of Khristine's performance was so brilliant and I was so immersed in this world and her voice that I almost missed my turnoff. Plus to make it worse, my eyes were leaking and full of water. I'm surprised I made it home in one piece, not even counting that I was an emotional wreck. Such a beautiful story even without the incredible narration.
So what's this story about? From my first review from my print read: The Heaters tribe live in a hard cruel world full of toxic air that gives them each a life expectancy of about 32 years. Siena is a 15 year old girl who is a pre-bearer and will become a Bearer shortly after her 16th birthday. The story follows Siena's journey and at times I laughed out loud at her antics, especially conversations with her friend "Perry". And, dang you, Estes... I cried like a baby at other parts of Siena's hard journey!
Estes' creative descriptive writing talent had me gagging, sweating, laughing and crying right along with his wonderful characters. And the slang he's created had me giggling and I've even found myself using bits and pieces of the Heaters' more unsavory terms myself. ;-)
Now I have to wait a couple of weeks before the audio of Ice Country is released. I'll be pacing waiting for the audio to drop into my audible app! Based on the sample we got a taste of at the end of Fire Country, I'm in for another ride!! Can't wait!!
"Great narration enhances story"
3.5 stars. Solid start to a new series. I am a huge fan of strong female leads so of course I just loved Siena. Having read the Chaos Walking series it was very easy for me to jump into the strange dialect here and think it added to the world building. Speaking of world building, I really liked the world Mr. Estes created and was able to picture it in my mind easily. I do feel there is still a lot of unexplained portions of this "new world" but then again this is the first book in the series and I am more than certain we will get some answers as the books progress. I liked the humor thrown in and enjoyed all the main characters.SPOILER I did feel her father's repentance at the end was a little off because he seemed to have no heart to me but he was dying so who knows! . This was a re-read for me as an audio and the narrator did a fantastic job capturing Siena.
"Love this story"
Yes, it's a great story
The wilds. I just want to be with them!
Range of voice.
Disliked how old the narrator sounded. Didn't mesh well with the idea of Sienna being young.
Love this story.
Let me start by saying that I was given this book for review by the author. He's a friend, but my opinions are my own.
This was my second time to follow Siena on her adventures in Fire Country. But this time I did it through the voice of Khristine Hvam, who was fantastic. I'm an avid audiobook listener and I am picky about narrators. But Hvam was spot on with every inflection, every phrase, every character. She brought this story to life in a way that far outdid my experience with the ebook. If I were to rate the book on the narration alone, it would easily get 5 stars.
But I'm not rating this on the narration alone, and the book has some flaws. It's as if it gets in its own way thru the telling of the story. It starts with language that is unique to the world of Fire Country. This includes not just terms for various things, but also a lot of slang and curse words that are done in the vernacular of the world. The dialogue is done with an accent that, while familiar somewhat (backwoods Southern America), was hard to understand. I felt like I needed to learn a new language in order to listen and that held me back from being drawn into the story.
Siena as a main character is difficult describe because she is drawn in such a contradictory way. She daydreams in class and gets punished, which makes me think she's got her head in the clouds. She comes home and wants the comfort of her mother's arms after having been in an altercation with classmates, so she's a softer soul. But when her father calls her to account for her actions (and how they embarrassed him as a community leader), she speaks back to him disrespectfully. The softer daydreaming mouse is suddenly is talking back to her dad when she knows he will beat her? Where did this backbone come from? From what we knew of her earlier, she should have been terrified of her father to the point where she'd cower. There was no continuity there with her personality and no observation from others around her to give her behavior any credence.
Siena's father is generally a villain. And yet at one point Siena states that he has become someone that is not the father she once knew when she was small. Apparently then he was loving, caring, a great dad. But the character we get to know has no trace of that kind of person in him. We don't get the connection from that person to the villain because there isn't enough back story or commentary from secondary characters to establish the change. Again, there is a lack of continuity in the development of the character.
Despite those flaws, the story is an entertaining one. There is somewhat of a disconnect between the harsh treatment Siena receives and her response to it. It's a bite with no sting. The story tries hard to be rough and edgy. But Siena's optimism and youth gives it a softness that lightens up the plot too much. It's as if it can't decide what it wants to be.
The plot is full of action which plays out nicely. The world is vivid. It's easy to envision and the book is generally hard to put down. Estes is good at tension as a scene develops, even working with characters that are undefined. And in the end, it's an enjoyable read - especially with Khristine Hvam at the microphone.
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