Review: “Fire of the Forebears” by L.A. Buck

“Fire of the Forebears” is an extremely well-written epic fantasy. It follows a plot that will be familiar to most readers of the genre: a seemingly ordinary young girl, who discovers she has a fate much greater than she thought possible, must join with a ragtag group of rebels to bring down a wicked king.

What makes “Fire of the Forebears” unique is its characters–which is interesting, as I would say the book feels more plot- than character-driven. Certainly, Buck’s skill is in writing scenes of description or action more than in introspection. The book had the distant feel that sometimes overtakes epic fantasy, and the characters, at times, seemed somewhat flat. However, Kura, its heroine, had something I see so rarely in any fantasy, especially epic fantasy: a family. What is more, she had a living, breathing family of well-developed characters with whom she had actual meaningful relationships which resembled the sorts of relationships people have with their families in real life. This kind of thing is vanishingly rare in fantasy, and for good reason–it is hard to send a character off to a heroic fate when they are comfortably ensconced in a loving community, and easy to motivate them by killing off a parent or two. Nonetheless, book after book after book filled with lone heroes (not to hate on this trope, my own books suffer a higher-than-average parental mortality rate, to be sure) gets old. “Fire of the Forebears” provided a different way of looking at the role of a hero in a community, which I truly appreciated.

Furthermore, there were lots of interesting little twists on epic fantasy tropes throughout. For instance, centaurs played a major role. They’re standard fantasy creatures, often kicking around in the background, but rarely get a chance to shine as major, well-developed characters the way they do here.

Buck’s writing is quite lovely. Her sentences are well-developed, lyrical, and varied. The world felt real, though I wanted to know a bit more about it.

Overall, a very strong and well-done entry into the canon of high fantasy.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s