Firegold Review

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If Dia Calhoun continues writing such works as this and "Aria of the Sea," she may become the next Robin McKinley! This book is wonderful, emotional, deep, but all wrapped in simple prose and style.
It centers around Jonathon, a teenage boy who has something that no one else in his native Valley has: blue eyes. Rumors flit about his mother, by the people who live in the valley and suspecy that the young boy is a Dalriada. The Dalriada are viewed as barbarians by the Valley folk, with their horses and astounding powers. They have blue eyes -- and, according to others, they also have horns from their foreheads. The Valley inhabitants fear that, as Jonathon reaches adulthood, he will go insane -- and mysterious welts are rising on his forehead, where horns would be...
These rumors reach their peak when Jonathon's mother dies, and he is accused of bringing a blight down. He must leave his home for his future, among the Dalriada. He will go to the ends of the world and back again, with the Firegold apples that will help him -- and those he loves -- to their destiny.
This book is elevated from a usual coming-of-age novel via Calhoun's beautiful prose and style. Her fantasy world is very similar to ours (a reference is made to a grandfather clock) yet the mythos and mystical experiences are different. It also brings to the forefront the disgusting bigotry and prejudice, without being heavy-handed in the execution.
Jonathon is a wonderful character, growing in strength and complexity as the book progresses. Some of the people who oppose him are a bit too narrow-minded for outright believability, but that is a very small flaw in a very good book.
I advise all admirers of good fiction -- fantasy or otherwise -- to check into this book. (I also advise you to read her second novel, "Aria of the Sea," which I am half done with)

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