Krista Reviews: Gillian Philip's - "Firebrand"


philip_FirebrandAt the end of the sixteenth century, religious upheaval brings fear, superstition, and doubt to the lives of mortals. Yet unbeknownst to them, another world lies just beyond the Veil: the realm of the Sithe, a fierce and beautiful people for whom a full-mortal life is but the blink of an eye. The Veil protects and hides their world…but it is fraying at the edges, and not all think it should be repaired. 

Discarded by his mother and ignored by his father, sixteen-year-old Seth MacGregor has grown up half wild in his father’s fortress, with only his idolized older brother, Conal, for family. When Conal quarrels with the Sithe queen and is forced into exile in the full-mortal world, Seth volunteers to go with him.

But life beyond the Veil is even more dangerous than they expected, and Seth and Conal soon find themselves embroiled in a witch-hunt—in which they are the quarry. Trapped between the queen’s machinations at home and the superstitious violence of the otherworld, Seth must act before both of them are fed to the witch-hunters’ fires…

Hardcover, 368 pages  Published February 19th 2013 by Tor Books (first published 2010)

In his youth Seth is an outcast in his own village and his older half brother Conal takes him under his wing. It’s not long before Seth develops an unbreakable bond with Conal and becomes tenaciously devoted to him. When Conal is cast out to the Otherworld Seth follows unable to live a life without Conal in it.

Beyond the Veil in the Otherworld, humans are in the midst of hysteria surrounding witchcraft. Under the guidance of Conal, Seth must learn the ways of the mortals and how to stay under their radar. When Conal is taken by the Minister, under the allegations he has been practising witchcraft, Seth must make the decision to show his brother mercy and kill him, or watch him burn.

Neither side of the Veil are ideal worlds. The Sithe are also going through a time of war and anarchy. Disagreements between Queen Kate and Lenore the witch cause upset within the Sithe families and sides must be taken.

It is a time of war and rampant paranoia. Love and compassion are hard to come by and laughter is almost completly unknown and most enjoyment found in teasing and antagonizing your friends for reactions. When love does come into the picture, it is more for companionship than romance.

Firebrand is a dark, depressing and often times war-fuelled story of the evolution of the Sithe and Mortal worlds during a time of darkness and fear. Though both sides of the Veil are dangerous, the Sithe’s actions are by far the scariest and the mortals have no clue what’s in store for them. Heartbreak abounds and yet determination to fight against the evil is what pushes the story forward. The book leads into the hint of a prophecy and hopefully book 2 will focus on finding the answers to prevent the utter destruction of both worlds. 


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