REVIEW: Survive My Fire by Joely Sue Burkhart
Dear Ms. Burkhart,
As I told you when you offered us an e-copy of “Survive My Fire,” dragon shapeshifters usually do little to light my fire. Shapeshifters period have pretty much lost my interest at this point, and yet your book grabbed me from the start. Perhaps it’s because up til now Chanda has rarely shifted to human form yet once she does, she generally stays there or maybe it’s because her dragon form is the result of a curse and not a lifelong thing. I might not have always known exactly what was going on but the ride was interesting.
In a land of poisoned sands and unending drought, Chanda has been trapped as a dragon for centuries. When yet another warrior comes to her lair, she wants to eat him. The last one was certainly tasty.
As the last dragon warrior of his tribe, Jalan must kill the White Dragon to save his people. He survives her teeth and claws. He even survives her Fire. Yet he loses the battle to protect his heart from the proud, fierce woman revealed by the silvered full moon.
While Jalan must choose between his heart and his tribe, Chanda realizes she may at last break her curse forever… if she’s willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all.
Fire, scorched, parched, dry, barren, Riven, blazing — your adjectives made me want to drink a quart or so of water while I was reading–but they do set the stage of the world you’ve created and give reasons for hero’s actions. Despair, hatred, rage, anger, loneliness, guilt, pain – do these characters feel anything except these emotions? Are there happy feelings in store for Chanda and Jalan? I’m not sure about the meaning of some of your terms — devalki? tel? tal? – could you insert a dictionary for this world? — you’ve obviously put a lot of time and thought into your worldbuilding and spared us an info dump of information about it and yet, some things weren’t clear or could have used some explanation.
Were the Mambas a deliberate association with black and green mamba snakes? As for marking each other with bites, there seems to be a little S&M going on here. These two are going to have some serious scars. I have to say that the overwhelming feeling from the first 50 pages is depression, I enjoyed the world and yet, the first bit is kind of a downer. But thank you for not using the term magick. Really. Thank you. The violence didn’t bother me much. I actually like this because after all, we’re talking about dragons and the fight for survival here. I was moved by Chanda’s willing sacrifice and to be honest, not all that sure that there would be a HEA for these two but you pulled it off without making the ending too sugary sweet. Thanks again for sending this to us. B-