The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

the-firebird-by-susanna-kearsleyThe Firebird by Susanna Kearsley
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Series: Slains #2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Scotland, Belgium, Russia
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark , 2013
Audiobook, purchased
539 pages
14 hours, 37 minutes
Grade: A-
Narrator grade: A
Synopsis: Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes glimpses those who have owned it before. When a woman arrives with a small wooden carving at the gallery Nicola works at, she can see the object’s history and knows that it was named after the Firebird—the mythical creature from an old Russian fable.

Compelled to know more, Nicola follows a young girl named Anna into the past who leads her on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

There are times when our victories have a cost that we did not foresee, when winning brings us loss.

and

“If we cannot be what we were born to be–the whole of it–we die a little on the inside every day we live the lie. I’d die for you in every other way,” he told me quietly, “but not like that….”

Initial impressions

  • I love this book. And I love that we hear about and meet a few of the same characters from The Winter Sea.

Cheers

  • The narration by Katherine Kellgren is excellent.
  • I love the songs sprinkled throughout the audio version of the book. The narrator sings them and it’s lovely.
  • This book is similar to The Winter Sea in the sense that the story has both contemporary and historical story lines.
  • This book is called Slains #2, but I think it can be read as a standalone book.
  • I can understand why Nicola doesn’t want to publicize her gift–that she can sense things from objects when she holds them.
  • Rob is such a likable character–someone I would want as a friend. He really cares about Nicola, but he wants her to accept who she is. Even so, he’s willing to go to Russia with her and try to help her.
  • I love the part of the story in Russia–both in the past and in the present.
  • Parts of the book are heartbreaking–especially the story in the past. The story about Anna is from the time she’s a little girl until she’s a young woman. She is wonderful to read about. The narrator really brings her to life and though she goes through many trials she still emerges a happy and optimistic young woman.
  • I love the way Ms. Kearsley writes. Her writing is really lovely–very poetic. Makes me happy to read or listen to. She makes me care so much for the characters. Sometimes I’m crying and sometimes I’m just so happy to read about these characters.
  • I think I like The Winter Sea a little better than The Firebird.

Jeers

  • None I can think of!

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I was so happy to listen to this book. The narrator is excellent and Susanna Kearsley’s writing is excellent. I’m looking forward to reading some more of her books.

Awards

  • RITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance (2014)
  • Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fantasy (2013)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.
  • Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.
  • Susanna Kearsley also writes classic-style thrillers under the name of Emma Cole.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Audiobook Challenge–hosted by Hot Listens and The Book Nympho blogs
  • TBR Pile Challenge–hosted by the Bookish blog
  • Ultimate Reading Challenge–hosted by the Popsugar blog (a book set in a different country–Great Britain (Scotland) & Russia)

I need to read more than one book from these authors . . .

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

 

I’ve only read one book from these authors, but I really need to read more of their books (in no particular order & links are to Goodreads):

1. Kate Elliott–I read Cold Magic and loved it. Ms. Elliott has written quite a few books and I own at least one more by her.

2. Susanna Kearsley–I listened to The Winter Sea. One of my favorite books in 2014 and I know I own three or four more of hers.

3. James S. A. Corey–I liked Leviathan Wakes and would really like to read the second book–Caliban’s War.

4. Martha WellsThe Cloud Roads is one my favorite books in 2014 and I’m eager to read the second book in this series.

5. Django Wexler–I own at least one other book by Mr. Wexler besides John Golden: Freelance Debugger.

6. Marko KloosTerms of Enlistment is a favorite book of 2013 and the second book was published in early 2014.

7. Brandon Sanderson–I listened to The Emperor’s Soul and many other bloggers have recommended Elantris to me.

8. Debra Doyle and James D. MacDonald–I really like The Price of the Stars, a science fiction space opera book. There’s a second book in the series.

9. Deborah Harkness–I read A Discovery of Witches at the end of 2013 and love it. The whole trilogy is already published.

10. Julie Cross–Another book I love–Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross. I’d really like to read more of her books.

Do you have any of those one-book authors from whom you need to read more books?

The characters I would want on a deserted island …

toptentuesday2Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme which I take part in occasionally. It’s a great meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog. Every week a new topic is presented. It’s not only fun to think about my list, but to read what other people come up with!

The topic this week is the characters I would want with me on a deserted island. At first I was thinking “desert” island and so I thought of characters who live in deserts! My first thought was of the book Dune by Frank Herbert which I read many years ago, but which sticks with me. Then I realized it was a deserted island so I had to rethink things!

By the time all these characters are on my deserted island it wouldn’t be deserted any longer!

1. Cassandra (Cass) from the Touchstone trilogy by Andrea K. Höst. Cass is transported to a deserted planet (except for animals) and manages to survive. She would be very useful!

2. Devi Morris from from the Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach. Devi is very resourceful as well as irreverent. She would keep up our spirits as well as have anyNice Dragons Finish Last weapons necessary to protect us!

3. Julius from Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron. I just finished this book and it’s great! Julius is a dragon–very useful to have around–and since he’s a pretty nice dragon he wouldn’t eat us!

4. Jarra from the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards. Jarra is brave, resourceful, knows a lot about history so she might be able to help us figure out where we are and how to get back home!

5. Ensign Andrew Dahl from Redshirts by John Scalzi. He would know not to volunteer to go on an away mission and remind us of the same thing!

6. Graham Keith in The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. So I could listen to his Scots accent!

7. Suzume from the Generation V series by M. L. Brennan. I wouldn’t pick Fortitude Scott, because he’s becoming a better vampire…not what you need on a deserted island! Suzume, on the other hand, is a kitsune…a very resourceful fox.

8. Shai from The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson. She is a forger–able to copy and recreate anything by rewriting its history with magic. That would be a magic-slaysgreat skill to have to help us get off the island.

9. & 10. Curran and Kate from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. We would need a very good leader and both these characters are great leaders. They’re very resourceful both with magic and when there is no magic.

Sorry I’m late getting this posted…by the time we got home last night I was too tired to finish this and get it read for today…and same problem this morning!

I chose all books I read this year. Not really intentional–they are all characters who would be great on a deserted island! What about you? What characters would you choose?

 

My favorite books so far this year…

toptentuesday2I haven’t participated in a Top Ten Tuesday meme for quite a while. Several weeks I’ve meant to, but things have always come up! Anyway, this topic–Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year–is one I’ve been thinking about because I’ve read a lot of good books already! The Broke and the Bookish blog hosts Top Ten Tuesday.

In no particular order…

Caszandra by Andrea K. Host (science fiction/fantasy, Grade: A)–this was the first book I read this year and is the last book in the Touchstone series. I like this series very much.

Pivot Point by Kasie West (young adult fantasy, Grade: B+)–this isn’t a perfect book (what is?!!), but it has stuck with me because of the premise of the book. The main character is able to look at two different futures to see which she wants to choose. I always wonder about the choices we make in our lives and what that does to change us.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (audiobook, historical mystery–WWWI flashbacks and 1920’s; Grade: A-)–a very powerful and emotional read for me because of the flashbacks to WWWI. The narration is excellent in this book.

Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (fantasy, Grade: A-)–This is a very good fantasy. Cat is such a strong character and the story is so good.

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross (young adult contemporary, Grade: A-)–This book has stuck with me since I read it. How Karen learns to cope with the death of her parents is very powerful. Reading about the world of elite gymnastics is also fascinating.

Redshirts by John Scalzi (science fiction/space opera, Grade: B+)–A very funny and fun science fiction, but also made me think about what reality is. This is one of the reasons I like science fiction. I like the ideas and questions science fiction often presents.

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley (audiobook, historical/contemporary/fantasy, Grade: A)–Such a wonderful book. The language is lush, the story is poignant, the Scotland setting is wonderful and the narration–especially the Scots accent–is just excellent!

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs (urban fantasy, Grade: B+)–I continue to love this series!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor –Not Yet Reviewed (audiobook, fantasy, Grade: B+)–The narration is wonderful and Karou is a great character.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards–Not Yet Reviewed (YA science fiction, Grade: B+)–I just finished this book and I loved it. The main character is so much fun and so honest (even when she’s lying!) Plus the far future setting is fascinating.

Honorable Mention

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop–I love Meg Corbyn and the Others.

In for a Penny by Rose Lerner–This was a re-read for me and I loved it the second time around, too. The characters are what make this book memorable.

Generation V by M. L. Brennan–I love this new series. I just wish there was more about the kitsune,

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch–This series gets better and better.

 

What books are your favorites so far this year?