Wednesday, March 10, 2010

GODDESS FIRE, a review by Joylene Nowell Butler

At first glance Goddess Fire may seem a complex mythic fantasy, but at its core is the basic human condition: a struggle for survival. Twenty years previous, a great plague strikes the land of Egira, killing off most of the men and leaving the land without leadership. Rescuers come in the form of the Vleth, 7' tall women with strange powers, mind readers who convince the Egirans and the Sylvani race who founded the great Egiran cities that they are there for the good of all. In short order, they enslave the men, create an army from the lowest class of Egiran women, whom they call Dames, and train them to be fighters. The Dames in turn strip the Sylvani of their basic rights and force them to yield to the Vleth's supreme power.

The Sylvani are ordered to build catacombs beneath the city in which they are entombed. Unable to feel the light of day, sickness comes and weakens what little strength they have, and yet they are determined to survive.

Ten days prior to the anniversary of the Vleth takeover of Egira, the leader of a small dissenter group learns that the Vleth plan something big for Aeyri Day, a celebration of Vleth supremacy, named after their goddess Aeyri. In celebration of their takeover of Egira, they decide to annihilate the Sylvani. Ten days is all the resistance has to save the Sylvani population and destroying the Vleth, the Dames and the madness that has gained control over their land.

Goddess Fire, to fiction what Avatar is to film, is a spectacular epic adventure. Author Meg Westley has created a sweeping tale in the temperate city of Crescena in the grip of a noble war. Her characters are vibrant women of extraordinary fortitude. While the focus of the story centres around fighting the Vleth, the blend of setting, description and language sets Goddess Fire among the best fantasy novels of this generation. Hollywood would be wise to take note of this incredibly story of honour, strength, and determination.

A writer and dungeon master in her "spare" time, Meg Westley teaches communications at the University of Waterloo and the Stratford Chefs School. Earlier in life, she worked as a stage manager, director and dramaturge. She's been a trustee with the Avon Maitland District School Board since 2000. Passionate about education, politics and theatre, Meg writes in a variety of genres: plays for children, horror stories, academic articles and opinion pieces. She lives in Stratford with her partner husband Jay Klassen; they have two sons. Meg's first novel, Goddess Fire, has just been released. For more information, see


  1. Great review, Joylene. I've always envied authors who can build elaborate worlds and still focus on creating in-depth characters.

  2. Thanks very much for your positive words Joylene. I am so glad you liked the book!

  3. Thanks, Jessi. It was a very intense read that kept my attention from beginning to end. One reason I don't do many reviews is I have to really believe in the book. Goddess Fire is a powerful epic story with outstanding characteristics and equally brilliant prose. Meg's a very gifted writer.

  4. Meg, I was thrilled to be help. You should be very proud of your book. Can't wait to read the next one.

  5. Good job of enticing me to buy the book. And I will because I love fantasy. Thanks Meg and Joylene.


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