Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Mortal Fire Mortal Fire
by Elizabeth Knox
Gecko Press

Supplied for review by Gecko Press

Reviewed By: Jan Butterworth

Canny is 16-year-old math genius Akensi Mochrie, daughter of wartime hero Sisema Afa and an unknown father. She has always felt different from her peers, not only because she’s very smart and has darker skin (her mother is a Ma'eu, not one of the white settlers of Southland), but because she sees calligraphy from an unrecognized script in the air, words no one else can see. Canny travels with her stepbrother and his girlfriend to Zarene Valley, scene of a famous mining accident a long time ago, in order to research it for his history professor father. There she discovers magic and a 17 yr old boy, Ghislain, who’s been held captive for many years.

I found it really hard to get into this book; the South Pacific island of Southland just didn’t grip me. The world was set in an alternative New Zealand in the 1950’s and though well designed and described, it just didn’t appeal. This is one of those books that you either love or don’t get, and I didn’t get it. The story got amazing reviews though, so try it yourself and see what you think.

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