Fire Country by David Estes

In a changed world where the sky bleeds red, winter is hotter than hell and full of sandstorms, and summer's even hotter with raging fires that roam the desert-like country, the Heaters manage to survive, barely.

Due to toxic air, life expectancies are so low the only way the tribe can survive is by forcing women to procreate when they turn sixteen and every three years thereafter. It is their duty as Bearers.

Fifteen-year-old Siena is a Youngling, soon to be a Bearer, when she starts hearing rumors of another tribe of all women, called the Wild Ones. They are known to kidnap Youngling girls before the Call, the ceremony in which Bearers are given a husband with whom to bear children with.

As the desert sands run out on her life's hourglass, Siena must uncover the truth about the Wild Ones while untangling the web of lies and deceit her father has masterfully spun.

It's tough living in Fire Country. The Heaters are a village run by the Greystones, they live off the desolate land, live in rustic tents that provide no shelter against the grueling and deadly sandstorms. Girls are seen as breeders and start after they turn sixteen, their mate is chosen for them. Siena knows she isn't ready to become a mother, to fulfill her role in the Call, as it's known, but with her father being head Greystone, she has no other choice.

Circ and Sie have been friends since they were both toddlers, making mischief and causing mayhem to entertain themselves. Circ is a hunter, he's fast and athletic, The Call wouldn't be so bad if Circ was old enough. It isn't until the two friends are seen embracing by Siena's father, when all hell breaks loose.

The Greystone laws are to ensure survival, but grossly unfair. It isn't until Siena finds herself sent to confinement, that she realises that there is something awfully amiss with those who rule the village with an iron fist. Siena is beaten into submission, with her chosen Call being the very man who enjoys violent tussles with his women. Siena isn't ready and can't be coerced, surely women have rights, they have a choice of who they give themselves to, and when. Escape is her only option... If only Circ was with her.

Siena escapes into the wild, the barren land where the stories if wild animals, kidnappers and cannibals lurk, just waiting to snatch her. She's on a mission, following in the footsteps of friends, honoring the memory of loved ones and rebelling against all she's ever known, and what she believes in.

The girl may be scrawny, but she's a fighter.

I loved Fire Country, it reminded me of Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It's the ultimate tale of feminism, set in a barron, dystopian world. Siena is a strong character, willing to stand up for what she believes in, regardless of the gender roles. I loved Perry and is 'inner dialogue', Perry's sarcasm brought a sense of humor to the storyline.

She's feisty, fierce and one of my favourite young adult characters to date. David Estes is brilliant, his female protagonists are always strong and sassy, not to mention likeable. He's fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Fire Country
(Country Saga: Book One)
Written By David Estes
Published 29 / 01 / 2013
398 Pages

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