Mythological Mondays: The Mythology in DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES by Zoë Marriott

Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. Leave a comment for us all to see! It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales (because I’m too lazy to do a separate fairy tale feature…). It doesn’t even have to be every Monday. I’m sure there will be Mondays when I skip, too!

Have I mentioned before how much I adore author Zoë Marriott?  Because I do.  I'm an avid fan of high fantasy, of fairy tales, and of Asian-inspired fiction, and Zoë has done all of this.   Zoë did a guest post when SHADOWS ON THE MOON re-released in the USA.  She also stopped by for an interview during A Week of Cinderella.  I've reviewed both SHADOWS ON THE MOON and THE SWAN KINGDOM and hope to review her two Ruan novels this week.  Plus, Zoë is amazing to talk to on Twitter.  And that is obviously all I need in this world to have an author-crush. ^.~

Both of Zoë's Ruan novels, DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES and FROSTFIRE, utilize their own unique brand of mythology that make them perfect for a Mythological Mondays Spotlight.  While DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES is available State-side, I imported FROSTFIRE from Book Depository because I couldn't wait for it to come out in the USA.  Plus, by doing it this way, I could also import the new, shiny  DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES cover to match...and they both match SHADOWS ON THE MOON, which I imported last year, so yay.

Both novels are stand-alone and can be read out of order.  The characters don't inter-connect, though a couple from the first book are mentioned offhandedly in the second, but not in a way that will ever make a reader confused.  The big connection between the books lies in Ruan and the gods.

There are two different religions and belief systems prominent in Ruan, each intricate and complex in a way that makes me covet Zoë Marriott's imagination.  For example, the Rua believe in the Holy Mother, and in DAUGHTER OF THE FLAME's Prologue, we are introduced to the way the goddess steps in and makes magic happen in order to save Zira and bestow a remarkable destiny upon her.  We are also told of the way the Sedorne view their gods in this lovely passage:

"We believe everything that exists is formed of a combination of those four elements [earth, air, fire, water].  The world itself was created when they came together.  Each of the elements is embodied by one of our gods - Ioana, goddess of fire; Tiberiv, god of air; Ovidiv, god of water; and Iosee, goddess of earth.  They are present in all things and all people, and exist all around us...

...Each person is born to serve one of the elements -- just as every animal and plant owes allegiance to one of them.  When a baby is born, our priests consult their holy scrolls, examine the baby, and decide to which element the child belongs.  I was a child of the flames.  I offer respect to all the gods, but I worship Ioana and she watches over me."
(Pages 162-163, UK first edition)

The Sedorne gods are rich and complex, and even the novel's title comes from this.

The second novel, FROSTFIRE, builds on the beliefs the Ruan people have in their gods and goddesses and adds in darker twists as well.

If you're looking for some good high fantasy novels with a touch of original mythology, check out these two novels by Zoë Marriott.  I hope to have reviews up this week for you!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Authors: Zoë Marriott
Release Date: Out March 3, 2008
Publisher: Walker Books
Received: Purchased


What if your deadliest enemy were the only one who could save you?

Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.