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Reviewed by Amelia Mackenzie
Opening sentence
A vivid fantasy story about equality, reviewed by Amelia Mackenzie
November 21, 2022

In a world where the sun has vanished and the earth is shrouded in a dark smokey haze, the only source of warmth and light comes from the firestones. These special rocks are mined underground by ‘The Quelled,’ a category of people who are branded by the superior race ‘The Chosen.’

On her 16th birthday, Elsha, a rebellious Quelled girl, is selected to be the handmaid of the Firelord. The Firelord is the most powerful Chosen. He is worshipped by all other Chosen for his power to Divine, which means to sense where firestones are. Elsha is swept into a world of hatred and division. By following the Firelord, she is led on a dangerous path to pursue her vision of a world of warmth and equality.

The characters in this story are described so well you can actually picture them, and feel like you know them and are with them on their journey. The characters are also really easy to relate to, especially the main character, Elsha, she is so determined and persevering and easy to relate to because she shows that no matter how hard the problem is first you need to have a positive mindset and believe!

What I particularly like about this book is how it displays the unfairness of putting people into categories. Winter of Fire shows that it doesn’t matter what your age, race, ability, or gender is, we are all equal and I think that is one of the really important messages Sherryl Jordan was trying to portray in this story. No matter how much you know, this book can teach you something. This was an amazing story. It had me engaged from start to finish and got my brain working heaps too.

Overall I think this is a great novel filled with some really important messages and overflowing with bold and unique characters. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good gift or wanting a great book to read for themselves. It’s so good I will definitely read it again!

- Amelia is 12 and lives in Whakatane.
Author & Illustrator: Sherryl Jordan
Publisher: Scholastic