Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Slavery’

The King’s Nightingale by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic 2021.

January 31, 2021 Comments off

This is one of the best adventure novels about slavery that you will read this year. Based in Europe and North Africa although those two regions are not mentioned in the novel. Instead it is the Penhallow Isles where the main character Elowen was born and raised, and Rabakesh where she is enslaved to king Shaistakhan.

Elowen is a 16 year old girl brought up in a christian religion called Followers of the Shepherd. It’s faults and credibility are revealed to her early in the novel over a illegitimate baby is denied death rights because of her illegitimacy. As this is happening pirates from the south sack Elown’s village and carry off those they can catch to be sold as slaves. Many do not make the journey alive after brutal treatment from the pirates.

Elowen survives along with her brother Fisher but they are sold separately. Elowen is bought for the king because of her beautiful singing voice and is treated very well indeed, in fact in luxury but she has a fatal flaw which is going to ruin this for her.

She is warned not to question the decisions of men or to speak ill of the king who belong to the Izarin religion much like Islam. Elowen is outspoken and makes it clear she wants to escape to find her brother fisher.

Her abilities as a singer earns her the name Shalimar or Kings nightingale and she evokes jealousy amongst the king’s harem. This results in Elowen being resold into desperately different conditions that she had with the King. She regrets this and when she learns of a war machine that is to attack The King she takes very dangerous actions. Read the rest and find out it is brilliant.

Beautifully told and described by Sherryl Jordan who is surely at the top of her game. It follows a similar book titled The Freedom Merchants also reviewed earlier on this blog. However the descriptions of the desert landscape of Rabakesh and the palace lifestyle of King Shaistakhan are delicious, as are the comparisons of the two religions and cultures.

Elowen is a good role model, loyal, brave, compassionate and generous but her outspokenness gets her into trouble. She learns the language and religion of her captives in order to quietly achieve her goals.

A novel in four parts. If you miss this one you will kick yourself.

Winter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan.

July 11, 2019 Comments off

winter fireWinter of Fire by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic, 2019.

First published in 1994 this reprint was made because the themes it has are so relevent to today’s world and because it is damn good literature. I am so glad it was reprinted because I missed it first time around.

Sixteen year old Elsha is the main character and her story is totally inspiring. Her guts and determination lead to a wisdom that is unquestionable and you will be with her the whole way.

The world she lives in is in total winter. The climate of the world has changed and heating is the only game in town. The World is kept warm by mining firestone and the top banana in this world is the Firelord who has the power to divine firestone.

Society has two groups equivalent to the haves and the have nots. The Chosen are in command and the Quelled are their slaves, are branded and are forced to mine firestone in appalling conditions. The Chosen live in mansions, the Quelled in tents and squalor. Elsha is one of the Quelled and she is rebellious.

Ingrained in Chosen thought is the opinion that the Quelled have no intelligence, no rights and no soul. Their women are not women but harsha. Elsha becomes handmaid to the Firelord and has to live in the Chosen world that despises her.

Elsha swears to use her position with the Firelord to improve the life of the Quelled and open the eyes of the Chosen. Will she succeed? Read it and find out.

Superbly structured and written by one of New Zealand’s great writers. If you miss this second time around you are mad. The more I read the deeper I became attached to Elsha’s plight and quest. Magic!!