Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review of #3 The Fires of Spring by Mary Mackey

Name of book: The Fires of Spring

Author Name: Mary Mackey

ISBN: 0-451-19589-2

Publisher: Onyx

Type of book: young adult-adult, Pre-historical Europe

Year it was published: 1998

Part of a Series: The Year the Horses Came, The Horses at the Gate, previously


The year is 4300 BC. The place is Europe, where Eastern nomads have invaded Shara, a civilized city that worships the great Goddess...and where a bold and passionate young woman named Keshna comes of age as a female warrior and a daring avenger. The nomad diviner Changar has kidnapped Queen Marrah's son Keru-and Keshna has vowed to hunt Changar down. But the barbaric Changar is a force to fear. He has taken possession of Keru's spirit and turned him against his own people. Across a land of warring tribes, primitive rituals, and savage terrors of nature, Keshna begins an epic struggle for survival as she battles a dangerous, seductive enemy with the power to destroy her people and the proud young warrior she has come to love...


The character of Keshna simply drove me nuts. Despite her being raised within Mother people, in a loving environment, she turns out to be very unlikeable. I find it hard to believe that so many men are in love with her, and that she does not like sharing joy or anything of the kind. I also find it hard to believe that all of a sudden she wants to have Keru's child, when in fact I doubt that she ever wanted to have a child of her own. In previous books I actually liked Marrah's brother Arang and felt sorry that he had such a daughter. Also, the whole genealogy, why couldn't anyone correct Keshna that the barbarians mixed it up and she's not really Zuhan's granddaughter? Luma is more tolerable than Keshna but still I held no lover for her. There are characters that you hate, such as Scarlett O'Hara, but at the same you cannot help but sympathize them while at the same time hating them. Neither Keshna nor Luma are such characters.


The main problem that the book had, as far as I remember, is the desire to find Keru, and when he is found, to help bring him back to Mother people. As mentioned, I had a difficult time understanding why Keshna hated sharing joy, and why she turned out that way. Yes there is personality, but shouldn't environment also play a role in this development as well?


three-fourths of the book is boring in my opinion, and character of Keshna doesn't make it any easier to like or get through. The last half of the book is kind of exciting although very hard to swallow. The readers are told that Keshna falls in love with Keru, but unfortunately we are not there with Keshna watching that progress. Also, I would have liked to know if Keshna and Keru did indeed have children or are all five of Marrah's grandchildren belong to Luma?

Author Information:

Mary Mackey is the author of six novels, including A Grand Passion, THe kindness of strangers, and season of shadows. A poet, screenwriter, and critic, she cofounded the Feinimist Writers' Guild and is a professor of ENglish and Writer-in-residence at California State University, Sacramento.


This is the one book that I feel should never have been written. First of all we no longer see nor witness Marrah's world, but instead we are roughly thrust into Keshna's and Luma's world which is a mixture of barbarian and mother people. Some things that are written made no sense: if your son was stolen previously by the same person, and you only recently got him back, how could you not have posted guards next to him?! And instead of it being ten or twelve years later or something of the kind, it would have been far more interesting to watch the cultural exchange between the Mother people and Barbarian and why things are the way they are so to speak. Also, I thought that Changar wiped all the memories away from Keru, and if he did, why does Keru still remember good things about the Mother people?

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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