Customer Reviews for

Dies the Fire (Emberverse Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Camelot here we come.

The book came heavily recommended to me, and rightly so. It's a great read, and a fast read. It's not often that I find books set in the area that I live. The Pactific Northwest, but most notably Oregon. It was great reading about the town's I've lived in and worked in....
The book came heavily recommended to me, and rightly so. It's a great read, and a fast read. It's not often that I find books set in the area that I live. The Pactific Northwest, but most notably Oregon. It was great reading about the town's I've lived in and worked in. My only complaint about the book is the Juniper MacKenzie Clan and the Wicca religion. Just didn't do much for me. However, Mike Havel and the Bearkillers are great and hope to read more about their adventures.

posted by Jetski on January 7, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Mr. Preachy

I have to agree with the reviewers that have given this series a negative review. In my opinion too many of Mr. Stirling's books turn into preachy, tedious and very partisan readings of history. He often blatantly inserts his own viewpoints concerning the value and/or...
I have to agree with the reviewers that have given this series a negative review. In my opinion too many of Mr. Stirling's books turn into preachy, tedious and very partisan readings of history. He often blatantly inserts his own viewpoints concerning the value and/or relative lack of value of various civilizations using the voices of his characters to make his point. For example in the parallel story of the Nantucket survivors who get thrown into the past; he uses two Black characters to disparage the view that Egypt was an African culture and not some alien group of Euro-Asiatics plopped down on the African continent. While it is obvious that history is a hobby of Mr. Stirling's he is not a historian nor is he an archaeologist, anthropologist and/or ethnologist. And I found the concept that within the continental United States that a religion such as Wicca would draw in the number of converts in such a short period of time and that its then too numerous to count adherents would so easily morph into "so mote it be" clansmen. Again as another reviewer noted...if I wanted to study the Wiccan religion I would pick up a book on it. His overall portrayal of those who ascribe to more or less Christian if not other monotheistic belief systems is laced with scorn and derision. Lastly, both he and Harry Turtledove have an abysmal history (my opinion) of writing believable non-White characters; specifically Black characters. Both present their various Black, Latino, Asian and/or Native American characters as so much fluff and window dressing. They are either perfect long suffering Sidney Poitier/Tonto stereotypes; or they are vicious sadistic Fu Manchu reprisals of evil inscrutable foreigners.

posted by Ankhenaton on November 8, 2008

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Camelot here we come.

    The book came heavily recommended to me, and rightly so. It's a great read, and a fast read. It's not often that I find books set in the area that I live. The Pactific Northwest, but most notably Oregon. It was great reading about the town's I've lived in and worked in. My only complaint about the book is the Juniper MacKenzie Clan and the Wicca religion. Just didn't do much for me. However, Mike Havel and the Bearkillers are great and hope to read more about their adventures.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read, Intriguing Premise

    Stirling's Emberverse series revolves around an earth-changing event that completely rewrites the chemistry books. This event throws all civilization back to the pre-Industrial days of our history.

    How well could we adjust without the necessities of our civilization? Stirling's characters must cope with the trials and dangers of humanity's fall back to a time where might often makes right and where only the strong - and those protected by the strong - have any chance of survival.

    Stirling raises critical questions that may make some uneasy about our society today. How would people cope without the thin veneer of civilization? To what lengths would we go to survive in a post-apocalyptic world? How much of what we call "civilized behavior" can we lose without descending into barbarism?

    I like Stirling's characters. I also enjoyed the historical references as the characters learn to live in conditions more common to Europe during the Viking era than with modern America.

    I have only one minor quibble and a major question with Stirling's story.

    First, the quibble. It seems that certain characters find themselves either incredibly lucky or extremely blessed, depending on your perspective. Characters stumble across people who can conveniently fill a major hole in their group, or they find the right materials to solve the crisis at hand. I concede the possibility of this happening, especially in the area of the book's setting. After all, the Pacific Northwest would contain an almost limitless supply of many materials even if industry halted today.

    As much as I enjoyed the book, I still find myself struggling with the major premise. How can anything change the basic laws of what we call "nature" without the consequences spreading throughout the universe as we know it? In any work, the reader must connect with the basic plot line to really appreciate the artist's endeavor. I had difficulty understanding how the basic chemistry could change so much in some aspects but yet other areas remained unchanged. I suppose this is science fiction, in a way, so I must suspend belief in the "science" and enjoy the "fiction."

    I've also read Stirling's "Conquistador." Between the 2, I enjoyed "Conquistador" much more. I plan to read more of Stirling's work later.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    What if...

    Alternate histories can be a lot of fun, but they can also suck horribly. Honestly, I hesitate to buy them because they are so often disappointing. The fun comes from question, "what if this one thing had gone differently?" Actually in this case its, "what if a flash of light (in 1986) changed the laws of physics so that technology no longer worked?" It's a great question for those of us who were alive in 1986. Its a fun world to put yourself in because we all wonder about our resourcefulness.

    Where they go wrong is in lack of research, logic and imagination. If, for example, an author doesn't imagine plausible results the story becomes annoying. And a story can be implausibly over or under reacting. Secondly, as with disaster fiction we need likable characters to observe in the situation. There's nothing more boring than a series of scenes about what happened.

    So how does Stirling do? Really well. Good characters, good pacing, good detail and description. All around its well written and since its not easy to write this type of novel well this book stands out.

    There are some challenges. There are a lot of characters and a lot of pages, which means this isn't a good book for slow readers at all. Also there is a lot of travel back and forth without mention of the path people took. For those of us who gain an extra bit of fun from living in the NW where this series is set, it can get a little ruined by not explaining how some characters hop back and forth over the Cascades when they can't go through Portland or use Hwy 20.

    Sterling also shies away from portraying large scale battles though there are at least two in the book. It maintains the balance between pages spent on exploring the "what if" and those spent on action, but I could have used a little more action, and made space for it by cutting some of the detailed depiction of Wiccan rituals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    another book involving the"CHANGE"

    ive yet to read this series but it seems interesting since there are two other books that i know use the change as the setting,im referring to ARIEL&ELEGY BEACH by steven r. boyett.ariel being reprinted since first being published in 1983 is a unique story describing the change through the protagonists pete garey's eyes.but after reading it i wondered what became of the other states in the U.S?the sequel ELEGY BEACH refers to them very seldom as pete recalls his journey.but still heres to another book of the change.hope the swordplay is awesome ill give a poper review after i read it.

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Not without flaw but a great read nevertheless

    I met a young man in the book store and i was bemoaning thfe fact that i hadn,t read a good series in a wile andthis was his reccomendation. Loving it thank you

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  • Posted December 21, 2012

    Very very good in this genre. I enjoyed also the other two books

    Very very good in this genre. I enjoyed also the other two books of the trilogy, but this first book was clearly the best in my opinion.

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  • Posted December 18, 2012

    I am on the 8th book in this series. I love them. Interesting

    I am on the 8th book in this series. I love them. Interesting characters and a great start to a finely woven epic tale. I have really enjoyed the interactions of the different factions; wiccans, warriors, SCA and many others. I don't expect to agree with every thought/ideal expressed in a story. I do, however, expect it to be engaging and intelligent. Great work of fiction. I would be in Clan McKenzie though. Totally dig their lifestyle.

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  • Posted December 10, 2010

    I like the story but....

    this books plot isnt that bad but it is very slow to start,and for some parts its a cutaway scene like a movie which takes you away from the action of the group that you were following and i didnt like that at all.its supposed to be a book not a movie or it shouldve been a movie period.ive read the emberverse series 1&2 and i love them but the execution of the plot and story needs to actually flow like a story not like watching a movie.

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommended! If you liked The Stand, read this one!

    I loved this book! In fact, I have read this one ( and the subsequent ones ) several times. What would happen if everything just stopped in a moment? No more cars, telephones, planes, guns, etc.... In a flash of bright light the world as we know it is gone. How do people survive without electricity? What would you eat if you could run sown to local store and but food? What would yo have to do just to survive another day? Find out just how savage the world could become in this book of "what if".

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  • Posted November 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A good read

    I like this series and its sister series, Islands in the Sea of Time.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Looking for an alternate history or just thought provoking book? Try this one.

    I was looking for a new sci-fi, fantasy author and this author was recommended. I glanced at the first couple of pages and they caught my attention right away and kept my attention throughout the book.<BR/> I have also read two more of the books in this series and they provide a good continuation of the storyline but will also stand alone as a one time read, which to me is important because you don't want to have to wait for the next book in a series and feel like you were left hanging.<BR/> Would highly recommend this as a well written and thought provoking book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    Characters, not so good, but what if...

    ..this really happened? This is the greatness of this book. I found the characters flaky and Stirling was very, very preachy but this could not stop me from constantly thinking about what would happen if 'the Change' really took place. I found myself intrigued as I repeated 'what would I do' and 'how would I survive.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2008

    Relevant for today?

    With a looming energy crisis, this book brings home some hard truths on what just might happen. For reasons which aren't explained, merely speculated on, mankind loses all higher levels of energy. This includes electricity, internal combustion, weapons that go bang, etc. I'm no expert on it, so took book at face value. The strength of the book is what happens to us when the groceries no longer come to us. Food distribution is brought to a standstill, so is government, communication, all the results of the technology we enjoy. This is a book of mankind starting over, focusing on a particular set of characters, much like Alas Babylon. Call it science fiction, call it a horror story, call it fantasy, it's a good beginning to a series that gets even better. Stirling has his favorites, so it seems, as some people really get lucky, or is it luck?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2007

    great read

    Even though the story goes somewhat off the plot midway through the book, this was an excellent read. The characters were well defined and easy to picture as real people. I am a huge fan of medieval fiction, and even though this was modern it had that medieval twist that left me not wanting to put the book down. I have not been able to read the sequel yet but be sure that it is the next book that i read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Great realistic and detailed end of the world novel

    I found this a very well thought out and exciting novel. He was very careful about details key to the area and realistic portrayed the chaos that could occur. Action packed. For those that say it's unrealistic, just look at katrina and new orleans those people turned savage in 48 hours and they new the rest of the world was in tact.. Creatively abounds swords from leaf srings..armys of bicylist warlords etc.. even got local college hangouts right not bad for a guy not from oregon. I read a borrowed copy and liked it so much I bought my own copy to lend to friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2006

    THIS BOOK ROCKS!

    Very exciting from beginning to end. A combination 'End of the Dream' and 'Coming of the Horseclans.'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2006

    gripping and enthralling

    I bought this book a while back and waited to read it, and I'm regretting that I did. The story was action packed from the third page to the end, with great character development and entertaining concepts. I'm a big fan of post-apocolyptic novels, and if I wasn't biased towards the genre I would have given it a five. This story accomplishes and far excedes in 600 pages what Stephen King's 'The Stand' did in 1000+ pages, detailed, thrilling, and to the point. Highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of the genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2005

    awesome if you like post apocolyptics, survior books

    AWESOME book. on par with the classics like on the beach, the last ship, alas babyon, earth abides, new madrid run. GREAT character devlopment. great interweaving story. fantastic details and not drawn out. superb dialog, riveting story in the modern age with details that give you the sense of being there. this book is what I look for in a post modern society, post apocolyptic type of book where most of the world is wiped out and some survive to try to rebuild and their daily struggles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2004

    Road Warrior Without the Road

    <p>Stirling's Tale reminds me of Mad Max without Cars. The loss of electricity, steam power, and gunpowder returns the world to the year 1000. I found the situation very engrossing and the characters were very heroic and likable. <br> <p> Juniper Mckensie is an Oregon Witch. Most of her followers are either members of her Coven or SCA get-a-lifes who find that their recreational training in Medieval Combat Techniques come in handy in a World without firearms. Her followers develope into a Scottish/Pictish clan complete with Bagpipes. <br> <p>Mike Havel despite his Czech name is a descendent of Finnish Sissi warriors. The ex Marine and his band are lucky enough to have a horse wrangler join early on and they develope into a Mongol cavalry for hire for other surviving bands as they make their way to Mike's former employer's ranch.<br> <p> The two groups eventually join together to twart an invasion by followers of the 'Protector', a former medieval history professor who has taken over one of the larger cities in Oregon and fancies himself the second coming of Sauron even using the 'Eye of Sauron' from LOTR as his ensign. <br><p> My only issue with the story is that the climax seems to be a setup for a sequel as the two group's join together and the 'Protector' is still at large.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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