These books have always had a special place in my heart.
I first discovered the Firebird trilogy about ten years ago. I had recently re-discovered the joy of Christian fiction (after having read Frank Peretti's books in high school) and I was searching the Christian Book Distributors website for fantasy and sci-fi. There wasn't much, mostly reprints of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. But I came across a trilogy of books by a lady named Kathy Tyers. And I remember sitting at my computer, thinking, I know that name. Why do I know that name? I looked up at my bookshelf and saw my collection of Star Wars novels and saw The Truce at Bakura. That clinched it for me. I ordered the books immediately. And I loved them.
I've been meaning to reread the trilogy for a while now, but I never got around to it. So when Marcher Lord Press rereleased The Annotated Firebird, I figured, this is the time to do it.
For those unfamiliar with this book, it follows a young lady named Firebird. She is born into the royal family of the planet Netaia, but she is the third-born daughter. That means she's a wastling, no more than a back-up for her older sisters. When her oldest sister has produced enough children, Firebird's life is forfeit and she will be expected to seek an honorable death.
When the time comes, she goes to war and expects not to come home. Instead, she finds herself in the hands of her enemy, a man named Brennen Caldwell, a warrior with incredible mental abilities. Instead of death, Firebird finds a new life and new battles, some against her own people, some against an ancient and determined evil. Those battles will change her in irreparable ways.
Okay, so my love for this series hasn't changed. It's a great blend of action and romance. Tyers built an incredibly detailed world and it's always a lot of fun to see how Netaian society works.
The annotations were, for the most part, helpful. Some seemed tacked on, but Tyers used those notes to discuss writing craft, the inspiration for names, hints about possible future Firebird stories, and so on. I was actually glad that she included one note. There has always been a scene in the second book, Fusion Fire, that left me a little uncomfortable. I don't want to give away too much. Let's just say I thought someone was being forced into a marriage against that individual's will. The note helped explain what was going on.
My only real concern is that there were some odd formatting issues in this volume. Most of them were small and barely noticeable, such as a backwards quotation mark in the wrong place. But twice, I noticed that the first paragraph of a new chapter was tacked on to the end of the former, often breaking in the middle of a sentence. It's a minor issue, but there we go.
If you're a fan of Christian sci fi, you have to get this book. It's a must, because Tyers helped pave the way for a lot of other great books.