I’m happy to announce we received the first professional book review for Searching for Fire published July 2019. It is a great review and comes from The Midwest Book Review. This review will show in the Midwest Book Review December Issue online under the California Bookwatch.
“Searching for Fire reaches young adult fantasy readers with a vivid story of a battle between gods that places a young pregnant woman in the middle of danger and conflict during the rebirth of the world.
If this premise sounds more adult in its complexity, be advised that Searching for Fire is recommended for mature teens, and is quite accessible to this audience. A prologue sets the stage for the characters and action that draws readers in (“This is not our first world. In the beginning, the Sun Spirit created our land and established the Elemental Code for our existence. All the living creatures inhabited this world for the benefit of the Great Spirits in the sky. When the hearts of the land’s inhabitants decayed, these same Great Spirits rained fire down from the sky. Among the smoke and ash, a second world was reborn. It prospered, but as with the cycle of the first, the decay returned. The Great Spirits chose this time to bury our world in ice. As to the third world, our people were gifted with the presence of the fire bringer named Ahiga.”).
Having this succinct review of the premise and environment offers readers an immediate ability to absorb the concerns and revelations of the story, which moves from the introduction to the crux of affairs when, generations later, a baby is rescued from a shapeshifter wolf pack. This event leads a young boy, his sister, and a wise medicine man on a journey to find a legendary Fire Spirit to save their village from destruction.
As the story unfolds, the clash between ordinary heroes and evil forces becomes a compelling investigation of not just the motives of those who undergo a quest, but the perceptions of those they leave behind: “Charles continued after drawing once more on his pipe. “There comes a time in a young man’s life when he must set out on his own … to set his own path through life.” Again, more silence. “You’re going with them, then?” Charles motioned to the closed entrance door to the cabin. Sam looked at Charles sadly at this point and said, “Yes, they need my help.” Charles just nodded. He thought sadly to himself that there are some things which must be set free.”
From windows of opportunity that open and shut to personal struggles with fear and threats (“He did his best to be at ease. Be like Charles. He kept saying this over and over in his head. He didn’t want to be here. He wanted to be back on the barge with the barge master, back in Stoney Creek. He was beginning to feel deeply afraid.”), J. Speer’s story goes beyond a fantasy quest to probe the feelings and evolution of those who journey through an unfamiliar, frightening world.
It should be noted that some conflict descriptions are explicit, which further reinforces the recommendation that the best audience for Searching for Fire will be mature teens to new adults and adults. These readers will find such descriptions tasteful and in keeping with the overall story, and will appreciate the inspections into motive, good and evil forces, and psychological growth that blend into the adventure and action. The story even ventures into realms controlled by the legendary Ahiga and the gods in a quest for balance, victory, and salvation from the threatening forces of darkness.
The result is a compelling, involving tale that excels in revealing the growth of all characters as they confront higher purposes and challenges than their individual daily lives. “