The Fire’s Stone

Title: The Fire’s Stone
Author: Tanya Huff
Cover artist: n/a
Publisher: Jabberwocky Literary Agency
Amazon: Buy Link The Fire’s Stone
Genre: YA fantasy
Length: 287 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A guest review by Sirius

Summary: Here we have a pretty usual fantasy quest, but with awesome characters and an understated but emotionally satisfying love story.

Blurb:

A wizard, a drunkard, and a thief – three strangers who must learn to work together or Ischia is lost beneath a sea of lava. But Aaron, the thief, is hiding more than stolen jewels. Chandra, the wizard, is running from a political marriage. And Darvish, the prince Chandra is intended to marry and the man Aaron has hidden the most from, well, Darvish really needs a drink. Before they can hope to save Ischia, they must save themselves.

Review:

I kept hearing from my friends that Tanya Huff is a writer I should read, but I kept being distracted by other shiny new books all the time. Recently a friend mentioned that one of her early novels had been reissued for Kindle, so I decided that this is a good sign that I should start getting myself acquainted with her works. I am so happy with my decision; I thought this book was a great buy for me. If you are a fantasy lover like I am, I am sure you will notice pretty fast that the plot is not complicated and quite predictable. Three main characters in effect go on a hunt for stolen treasure, because the safety  of the whole country depends on the treasure being returned home. One of the villains is awkwardly revealed in the middle of the story (because we are treated to a section from his POV where he in fact says that he did it), and another villain is pretty easily guessed. So, no I did not think that the plot was sophisticated, quite the contrary. Neither did I think that the world building was intricate – I would say it reminded me somewhat of the world building in Disney’s Alladin for some  reason, that should give you some idea :).

Having said all that, I enjoyed the story so much  and I enjoyed it because of the three main characters, who are multilayered, interesting, have some deep flaws (at least some of them do) and who grow and mature during the story. In fact, I was really impressed how the author used the predictable and simplistic plot to tell the story of the character growth for all three of them and to interweave one of the  sweetest love stories in it too. All three of them undergo their own personal journey and at the same time they do it together. I thought that Darvish was battling the most serious character flaw, and I thought the writer handled it quite nicely. I really liked this character and him battling the addiction did not stop me from thinking of him as a “human being” worthy of love and respect. Chandra is, well, I would say that especially for the early 1990s she is an unusual character for YA fantasy. I was impressed with the strength of her will and her determination to stick with the goals she wanted to achieve. I thought that the writer achieved something very interesting with her – Chandra has to learn that her goals should not be achieved at the expense of loyalty to the friends, but at the same time the writer does not make her give up her goals, in fact a creative solution is found to help her achieve them. I am sorry for being so cryptic, but as I said above the plot is not very sophisticated and really small revelations could be looked at as spoilers. Aaron is the character with whom the story started according to the writer in the foreword to the kindle edition of the story.

“The Fire’s Stone began with Aaron. Concerned that my characters were just a little too well balanced, I sat down to create a TFUC, a Truly F*cked Up Character. Character created, I built an exotic city for him to run away to, I made him the best at what he’d become, and then… I took it all away”.

This is the character deeply tortured by his past and who of course has some bad memories to relive from time to time and some angst to do, but really not that much in general, because the story is the action/adventure quest at heart, and Aaron needs to act, not just suffer all the time. I think that the balance of tortured past and strength was very well done and when Aaron is hurting it has all the more impact than if he would be thinking about it for pages and pages and pages. I was wondering whether Aaron’s journey was the easiest one, but then I decided that not at all – letting go of the past and accepting himself and his desires is not easy at all for him.

“Chandra propped the damaged door closed and, wiping her cheeks dry, climbed thoughtfully back into bed. In her opinion, the best thing for both of them now would be to admit how they each felt about the other and go on together from now on.

They wouldn’t.

Men.”

There are no sex scenes in this book – it is YA and published in 1989 (or 1990, not sure), but I thought the chemistry between Darvish and Aaron was quite visible without any sex scenes and conclusion was quite satisfactory for the time it was written. It is as happy as it could get, do not worry 🙂

The book is not a menage, do not worry. I do not want to say more for the fear of spoilers, but at the end of the book the guys and the girl are good friends who are stuck with each other based on their own choices, but the love is strictly between two guys.

Highly recommended.

20 comments

  • I have a couple of copies of The Fire’s Stone, one is dog-earred, having been read many many time – the other just looks pretty on my shelf;) This novel is on my top 10 list of all time favourites. I wouldn’t classify it as YA though. It’s just a great story, beautiful world building, and flawed wonderful endearing characters who live long in memory. Huff is a terrific writer. Her Blood Ties novels didn’t interest me much as I wasn’t a fan of the Vicki character but I adored the Smoke series. Fire’s Stone stands on its own – I go back to it often.

    Reply
    • Hi Madonna I classified the story as YA because it deals with young characters. To me classifying the story as ya does not mean decreasing it’s significance and complexity, quite the contrary. The best YA stories do not talk down to their readers at all. I think at sixteen seventeen person can handle a reading of any complexity, but they are also facing so called coming of age issues and to me this story had in spades. I really loved it too.

      Reply
  • Ohh Tanya Huff. She is good. Loved her Bloodlines work! This sounds awesome too! Must read then!

    Thanks for the awesome review!

    Reply
    • Hi Larissa, feels like everyone read those series but me. Must rectify that situation soon :). Thanks for commenting and let me know your thoughts on this one when/if you get to it.

      Reply
      • I really need to make a list. There were a few I was going to read and let people know my thoughts, but then I forgot which ones 😕 Not helpful!

        Will add this to a list with your name next to it! 😀

        Reply
  • I love Tanya Huff’s work. One of her other YA series, The Keeper’s Chronicles (Summon the Keeper, etc.), is a favorite of mine for its good humor, although that one is not m/m (although technically there is an f/f pairing late in the series). I can’t remember if I actually read this one when if first came out or not, so I think it’s going on my list. Thanks!

    Reply
  • I’ve loved this book for a long time – so glad to see it available and to have you giving it some recognition. Tanya Huff says she still gets lots of requests for sequels to this one, and I’d love to see it (but I imagine it’s not likely after all this time.) The MCs are wonderful, especially Aaron.

    Her Vampire books, and even more her Smoke series are some of my very favorites in paranormal/urban fantasy.

    Reply
    • Hi Kaje, I think because of the characters this book will be on my favourites list and a reread too. See, I do not know if I want sequel for this one. I see over and over readers of many of my favourite books wondering and wanting sequels for many of them, but in the majority of cases I feel that the books are complete and authors rather not come up with fake conflicts for beloved characters.

      I am not saying that she is not capable of coming with new adventures for them if she so desired of course, but I did not feel that the book left any character arc issues open and stands well on its own. IMO of course.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Reply
      • Oh I agree that the end was good and solid and completed the arc beautifully. But the guys are left on the brink of something new, and there are the issues of government and succession – I’d like to see the three of them work through that. Not necessary, just one more case of wanting more of beloved characters. I slashed this myself, back when I first read it, but I’d love to see her do it. No one should hold off thinking it’s incomplete though. It isn’t – the end is wonderful.

        Reply
        • True, I think them exploring the actual relationship rather than just realizing that they want to be together could be a great read too. But as you said, probably unlikely since so many years passed. It is just I REALLY dislike those sequels which came up with idiotic reason to break guys up and then another half of the book is spend on you know, getting back together. But that does not need to happen in the hands of great writer.

          Reply
  • I LOVE Tanya Huff! Her Smoke series with Henry that Raine noted combined with Tony, a young gay man he meets as a food source moving to Vancouver is great. It’s not so much a romance between those two, they amicably split, but when Tony turns out to be a wizard and all hell breaks loose and he’s crushing on a guy he works with, it’s just so fun. I’ll have to check this one out.

    Reply
    • Hey Tam so vampire Henry is in the series Raine mentioned and in smoke and mirrors as well? I was going to buy Smoke series since friend recommended them too but want to make sure I am not buying same thing. Thanks and I hope you like this one.

      Reply
      • The Blood Ties-series came first and focuses most on Vickie Nelson, a former detective, another great female character. She ends up in a complicated triangle with Henry and her former partner/ex-lover Mike.

        Tony already shows up in the Blood Ties-books and Smoke and Mirrors picks up after the evenst in Blod Ties with Henry and Tony moving away.

        Tanya Huff is great at writing likebale and memorable characters. I recently read her two newest books (The Enchantment Emporium and The Wild Ways) and was caught in the spell of her characters again.

        The Fire Stone is a book I’ve been reccing to friends for years even though it was out of print. I just love Chandra, Aaron and Darwish.

        Reply
        • Thanks so much for clarifying for me about Henry and what series he is on Alix. I think Smoke and Mirrors will be mine very soon 🙂

          Yep, I love Chandra, Aaron and Darwish a lot, talk about memorable, I doubt I would be able to forget them any time soon.

          Reply
  • Oh yes please. There goes my pocket money again! 😮 Aaron sounds like a fab character.

    I love Tanya Huff’s vampire Henry from the Blood Books, and even have the admittedly a little clunky TV series on DVD.

    Reply
    • Heh I really hope you like all of the main characters. One of the amazon reviews which I read stated basically that characters are the only thing this book has going in its favor and I was thinking to myself – I did not realize that writing memorable characters was an easy thing to do :). I am definitely going to check out vampire Henry and hopefully soon enough.

      Reply

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.

%d bloggers like this: