Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flora's Fury by Ysabeau Wilce

Flora's Fury: How a Girl of Spirit and a Red Dog Confound Their Friends, Astound Their Enemies, and Learn the Importance of Packing Light by Ysabeau S. Wilce is a worthy continuation to an excellent series.

In this book, Flora is a cadet at the Barracks, having put aside her childhood dreams of being a Ranger (at least for a while). She's on assignment as a clerk in the General's office, so her duties are limited to errands, paperwork, and baby-minding. Her long-time friendship with Udo is strained, she's unsatisfied with her work, and she has certain plans of her own. She knows she shouldn't be mucking around in the Current, but there are a few things she just has to know -- and to find them out, she will need to use magic. Her spell-casting attempt is interrupted by a mysterious stranger, and shortly thereafter, she finds herself on a voyage that will take her over sea and land, to places she's barely even heard of, and she will learn much more than just the answers to her questions. She'll also learn a few hard lessons about actions and consequences . . . and maybe a little bit about romance, as well.

Flora's high-spirited hijinks will be familiar to fans of the series. I was particularly impressed how, in this book, Flora really seems to mature. By the end of the book, she's making decisions on her own -- not to please or spite her parents, and not thoughtlessly following her whims, but weighing consequences and choosing the course of action that she deems best. She also gives up something precious at one point in the story (I'm trying to avoid spoilers, so sorry if this is getting really vague), and the results of that were poignant and hinted, I hope, at things to come in future volumes. Flora will always be fiery and temperamental, but I feel that she's developing into a truly strong woman, and becoming someone I'd actually like to know.

Some reviews I have read have speculated that this is the end of the series for Flora, but I think that can hardly be the case -- there are too many loose ends, and all of Califa is poised on the brink of conflict. Here's hoping that we'll see a lot more of Flora in the not-too-distant future!

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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