Since I just gave five stars to the previous book, I was tempted to give this only four. This wasn’t quite as inventive as Singularity, but it will certainly resonate with many of its intended readers. Since it’s the author’s first, I give her extra credit.
Tyers does one thing well: she gives the reader a satisfying closing. I mention that up front because so many authors of series don’t. Even though this is the first of a series, she gives closure to this phase (even as she dangles loose threads to lure us back for more).
I read the 2014 version, which the author admits to having “a few ‘tweaks’ to a book written so long ago.” Originally published in 1987, it’s stood the test of time better than many similar stories.
My biggest quibble is with the title. A science fiction or fantasy book titled “Firebird” excites a whole set of expectations. Nope. That’s just the name of the protagonist, though she does … (no, that would be telling). Oddly, many other characters have typical SF names (not quite the same as current conventions); “Firebird” is anomalous even in her society (though her sister is named Phoena).
Books about persons of faith are a rare breed. It’s as if authors and publishers of speculative fiction forget than many—no, most—readers are persons of faith. The norm in science fiction, and to a lesser degree fantasy, is for the neo-atheist world view: only measurable things are real. Those stories miss is a lot of beauty, love and creativity. Tyers (and Enclave Publishing) demonstrate that it’s possible to write convincing, fun stories involving people who believe in higher realities. I have read books by persons of different faith communities which, despite our irreconcilable theological differences, still touch me more than books written from the Flip Wilson POV: “What you see is what you get.”
Similarly, Firebird’s musical proclivities add depth to her character.
A different SF story; a different kind of SF story. I’ll look for more of Tyers’ and Enclave’s works.