Book Review: Firebird by Kathy Tyers (Five stars)

Book Review: Firebird by Kathy Tyers

Five stars out of five

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.


3 thoughts on “Book Review: Firebird by Kathy Tyers (Five stars)

  1. Nice review. Not sure what a neo-atheist is. Undecided? Almost an atheist, but maybe an agnostic? Similar to an atheist but wavering? .

  2. Twenty-first century atheists like Hawking and Moreland, as opposed to the twentieth century atheists like Russell and Atkins. The difference is subtle. The old atheists argued from logic (logical positivism, in fact) while the new atheists argue from science (they claim, mostly they just dismiss anything they can’t measure as unreal.) I believe most are quite sincere and fixed in their atheism.

    My point, from the point of view of story, is that written from that perspective–as much current science fiction is–does not engage readers as well as a view which includes (shall we call them) dimensions beyond what we see and touch. Think Gaiman, Grossman and Zelazny as well as Christian, Muslim and Jewish writers.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes (Four Stars) | As a Matter of Fancy

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