A collection of misfits, a quest and an engaging fantasy novel

Tanya Huff is a Canadian writer of fantasy novels. I first read her Blood books (reviewed here) which are excellent urban fantasy novels. She has written many others including some standalone novels of which The Fire’s Stone is one. It is a pretty traditional fantasy novel with a group of unlikely people engaged on a quest which will save the world, or at least a part of it. The theme and many of the characteristics of the book may be traditional but the story is told in a witty manner and is a very engaging read.

Aaron is the son of a clan leader who escapes from his destiny to rule and takes up a life as a thief far away from his home. He’s very good at it but he no longer has any real wish to survive so he undertakes riskier missions which result in him trying to steal a gem from the palace. Prince Darrish is a younger son of the king who spends his life trying to be good enough for his father or at least to make him notice his son by the dissolute lifestyle he leads. Chandra is the heir to her father. She is a novice wizard and wants to study but her father wants her to marry Darrish. All three are trying to prove something to themselves and to others and through circumstances they become the group that sets out to rescue the sacred stone which has been stolen – without it the volcano will eliminate a whole island kingdom.

On the way all three main characters learn lessons about life and are drawn together. They also find that not all of what they think about other people is true. Enemies try to stop them reaching their goal but this is a good, old-fashioned quest novel so you are pretty sure that together they will overcome the obstacles and there will be a wedding at the end – which there is….sort of.

This is a really enjoyable novel. You might be sure that the quest will succeed but how the group come together and how they learn about themselves is really engaging with the author often overturning your expectations of the genre. The author has a dry wit and the exchanges between the characters are amusing in places and fun to read. It’s a book about making your own way in the world and standing up for yourself but without being too preachy.

I recommend that you try this author if you like well written fantasy.

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