January 19, 2012

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies

Ok, so I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought this, but this book was "Watership Down" with deer. It was almost shocking how many elements seemed to be borrowed from that book. And while this one was ok, just the sheer volume of similarities kind of ruined it for me.

The Herla (as deer call themselves) have entered a time of uncertainty. Their ruler, gone mad with power, has started changing the way they naturally live. When one fawn with a special mark is born, the leader fears a prophecy and sets out to kill him. He and a few other deer escape but find danger at every turn. And as the years pass, the dangers get larger and that special fawn Rannoch grows into quite the unusual deer. He doubts he is part of the prophecy though and doesn't realize his full potential. With the deer herd continually escalating downward and becoming more murderous and brutal, he does realize he needs to do something.

Rannoch was a bit weak to me. He runs away from his problems so much and while that's normal for humans, I guess I just don't see deer reacting the same way people would. He also doesn't have a very easy to follow thought pattern and I don't think its the result of being a deer. The other deer are interesting. It was hard for me to picture them as being particularly brutal, even in a fiction novel. I actually liked the few glimpses of humans in this book even though I wasn't supposed to. I just found them interesting compared to the deer. The most standout character would probably be Bracken, an older doe. She was very brave and very loyal and an all around good character.

For the plot, as said before, there were so many similarities to Watership Down that I couldn't take it quite seriously. It is kind of funny that Richard Adams (author of Watership Down) gave this book a good review. I would have thought he would have been angry at the similarities. But to each their own I guess. The pace moves very fast and the years even faster so its sometimes hard to keep track of where and when they are. Especially with Rannoch, he bounces all over the place. I do have to say that the end of the novel was interesting and I liked the resolution. It had a nice finality to it. The book did have some innovative ideas of its own too and because of that I can't rate it too low.

Its an ok book. Not one I'd probably recommend outright but I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it either.

Fire Bringer
Copyright 1999
498 pages

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