My article on the Indies Unlimited website last week discussed theme. My main point was that all books should have a theme. My second point was to let the reader have some input. Don’t tell them the theme over and over again. Show us a person working out the theme and let us make up our own minds.
In Daughter of Fire, what the author should have done is show us her theme, which deals with the responsibility of the average citizen to maintain an appropriate level of vigilance about the happenings in the world. Instead, we got the author, through the mouthpiece of the main character, talking endlessly about her theme material.
Laura, the main character, discovers she is the daughter of Ares, the Greek god of War. The shield between the real world and the world of magic is disintegrating, and many people and magical beings think that the solution is war. Laura is so determined to fight her violent heritage that she refuses to go along. However, this refusal to cooperate puts the onus on her to do something else, and she can’t figure out what.
Her refusal creates a great conflict, where she wanders the streets of New York, fighting off and/or befriending (and sometimes both) various people and magical beings as the world of magic impinges on the Big Apple. This creates all sorts of danger and suspense, but she spends too much time agonizing about the nature of humanity and war and peace and responsibility and many other ideas to let the reader sit back and enjoy the action. It’s like watching a chess game and listening to a commentator going through all the possible moves. Just when the tension is beginning to rise, we stop for another bout of discussion.
This author has a natural, flowing style, and the main character is as human as an urban fantasy demigod could possibly be. Puff, Laura’s magic dragon friend, creates just the right amount of comic relief. The dialogue sounds natural, the emotions believable and moving.
But there is simply too much philosophy.
Recommended for urban fantasy fans who like to discuss ideas. A lot.(4 / 5)