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Last year when I was offered the chance to review Wildfire by Sarah Micklem, I was told it was the sequel to Firethorn (2004). I asked if Wildfire would stand by itself because I wouldn't be able to give a fair review if it couldn't. I haven't read the first book. Instead of a yes or no answer, I received Wildfire in the mail.
The book does not stand alone. It begins in media res with the main character, Firethorn, being struck by lightning. Without knowing her from the first book how can I possibly know what she has lost of feel for her plight? The lightning strike goes from being a tragic moment to being a plot hook and little more.
Then there's the war. Firethorn apparently disobeyed her lover's wishes and followed him into battle. Of course in her scrambled state, where the words come out wrong and she apparently now has visions, she quickly finds herself in a world of trouble. But along with the battle there is also the movement of the troops and the long haul to get to the front line. It may be more realistic to include these long marches, the dirt, the squalid conditions and other depressing details but it makes for a very slow book, especially when one isn't emotionally invested in any of the characters.
That leaves Firethorn and her condition. She apparently goes from being a strong and competent woman to being touched. She speaks in riddles even though she apparently thinks clearly. To me, she becomes a pale shadow of River Tam from the Firefly series.
Perhaps if I had been able to read the first book I would have preferred the second. Keep that in mind.