Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits

Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits

by Robin McKinley, Peter Dickinson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142419458
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 10/13/2011
Series: Tales of Elemental Spirits Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,290,614
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

In 1927, Peter Dickinson was born in Africa, within earshot of Victoria Falls. When he was seven, his family moved to England, where he graduated from Eton and later Cambridge. After working on the editorial staff of the humor magazine Punch for seventeen years, Peter finally started on his career as a writer, which he knew he was meant for since he was five years old.

His first book was published in 1968, and since then he has written almost fifty novels, for adults and young readers. His children's books have won great acclaim here as well as in Great Britain, where he has received both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Award.

Peter lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife, Newbery Medalist Robin McKinley.

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Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
"Phoenix" by Peter Dickinson. In Britain elderly caretakers Dave and Ellie begin to care for the ancient Egyptian Phoenix, who struggles with the change in climate; the pair is rewarded for their kindness in an unexpected way.--------------- "Hellhound" by Robin McKinley. Miri rescues the red-eyed dog from a shelter; not anticipating her kindness will be reciprocated when her canine stands at her side during a confrontation with an evil spirit in a graveyard.--- "Fireworm" Peter Dickinson. The fireworm threatens the Home Cave of the dwelling clan. Tandin challenges the beast on the spirit plain, but is stunned to realize the enemy has a mate that it protects from the cave-dwellers.---------- "Salamander Man" by Peter Dickinson. Tib the orphan is sold to a mage, which leads to his turning into a blazing giant freeing the salamanders and the city residents from the abusive magicians. --------- "First Flight" by Robin McKinley. Ern prefers to hide in the shadows as he is the subject of ridicule when he is out in the open. His extroverted brother Dag comes home fuming because an injured dragon is assigned to a task that the beast cannot accomplish, yet encouraged by a wizard Ern enables the beast to enter Flame Space.----------- The sequel to Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits contains five fine fiery fantasy fables that young high school students will enjoy.--------- Harriet Klausner
eurekatpt More than 1 year ago
I must first specify: I read this as an e-book from my library's Overdrive system, so I can't attest to the quality of the B&N download. However, I really enjoyed all the short stories in this book. I am a big Robin McKinley fan, so I admit those were my favorites, but these were all great reads. It was nice to start a story before going to sleep and be able to finish and be okay with turning out the light. (not going: but?? what happens in the next chapter???) I especially enjoyed the humor in the last story - including regular everyday experiences of life in a world inhabited by dragons and magicians. Several of the comments got me laughing. :-)
PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
This is a fairly strong young adult fantasy collection. Even though none of the stories is perfect, each one is engagingly written and features a different creature of fire. The first, by Peter Dickinson and about the phoenix, is marred by sudden shifts in perspective that feel too rough for the gentleness of the story; however, it features some of the most beautiful imagery of the collection and is one of the more unique premises. The second, by Robin McKinley and about a hellhound, is very much for animal lovers (which I am) and may be slow through the first five or so pages if you aren't interested in horses, dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles. After that (or if you don't mind that) however, it features the best pacing through its midsection, setting up a fairly large cast of characters for a short story and building a well-realized world with perhaps the best sense of jeopardy. The climax felt a little too easy, unfortunately, but the story as a whole may have been my favorite. The third, again by Peter Dickinson and about the fireworm, was the most peculiar. It started very badly, with Dickinson's fictional Native American tribe feeling about as authentic as Disney's in Brother Bear. It was, however, only uphill from there, and the climax was incredibly moving, and caused me to feel angry in the best way. Its denoument again felt a bit easy, but the story was worth it nonetheless. The fourth, the last by Peter Dickinson and about the salamander, was the only total miss of the collection. It started out very strong, but the instant its main character (a young slave boy named Tib in a pseudo-Middle Eastern setting) became emotionally removed from his actions I did as well. The last story, by Robin McKinley and about the dragon, was the most well-rounded but unfortunately also the one with nothing about it that really stood out. It was reminiscent of her novel Dragonhaven in its male first-person narrator and semi-stream of consciousness style, but this narrator is far less self-absorbed than Jake was, making him likable even in his total denseness about his world. The world was interesting, if not quite believable (there has never to my knowledge been a culture that despises healers -- it's just not realistic, because people everywhere will get sick and they can't work if they're sick), the pacing was steady and the ending just right for the story. All in all, while nothing in the collection is earth-shattering in any way, it is a pleasant read and suitable for late elementary school children and up.
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Another stellar addition to McKinley's works, and another nice collaboration with Peter Dickinson. My favorite stories: "Phoenix" because it has such a homey feel and at the same time such an exotic feel too. And "First Flight" which was really enjoyable to read and made me wish Ms. McKinley had been overtaken by her usual problem and had ended up with a novel instead of a short story! Wonder if the authors will be successful at completing volumes on the other elements - I hope so!
eduscapes on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I normally enjoy short story collections in the summer because they're quick reads. However I was disappointed by the fire connections and felt most of the stories were weak on character development and lacked engaging plot lines. Even the best authors have bad days. I get the impression that McKinley and Dickinson wanted to work together, but really didn't have the time to coordinate their efforts.
beserene on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I love Robin McKinley. I have for years. So my biggest disappointment with this collection of stories by her and her husband, writer Peter Dickinson, is that it contains only two pieces from McKinley. I gather, however (thanks for the enlightenment, all) that Dickinson has earned the right to the majority through his own experience, so I suppose I can't begrudge him the extra story. Like most collections, there is a spectrum of quality here. The stories -- of which there are only five -- are sizable, with the final work reaching novella proportions. In fact, it is that last piece -- "First Flight" -- that I enjoyed the most. McKinley's story of a young man who conceives of himself as "the dim little brother" offers a wonderfully expressed coming-of-age. The first person narration is full of genuine voice and the reader understands the "little brother" more with each passing phrase. Also, it has dragons. Dragons make every story better, right? :)The other piece by McKinley frustrated me because I actually wanted it to be longer. "Hellhound" centers on a young woman who adopts a strange dog, and ends up very glad she did when strange events occur. It didn't hurt that this story had horses in it -- horses, like dragons, make everything better, obviously -- but I also appreciated how authentic the human-animal relationships felt here. The moments that frustrated me were when the supernatural climax occurs -- it felt like there simply wasn't enough room in the story for a complete conflict and its resolution; consequently, I felt rushed and confused about some of the context details.My favorite of Dickinson's contributions was "Phoenix", a short story that played (obviously) on the legend of the singular firebird, but also managed to reflect on the nature of love, ideas of identity and dedication, and even environmental stewardship. This story rang with melancholy and nostalgia, but not in an irritating way -- I liked the feel of it very much. There wasn't anything wrong with the other two stories by Dickinson -- they just weren't all that memorable.Overall, this was a pleasant collection filled with solid writing and entertaining, often thought-provoking ideas. What more can you ask from stories?
readinggeek451 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Five long short stories/novellas, three by Dickinson and two by McKinley. The first two stories are set in our world; they, along with the other one by McKinley, are my favorites.Fire can take many forms, from phoenixes and hellhounds to salamanders and dragons.
thelorelei on LibraryThing 8 months ago
With "Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits," Peter Dickinson and Robin McKinley continue the series begun so promisingly with "Water." This volume of short stories is just as masterful as its predecessor. McKinley and Dickinson have very different styles, yet their stories complement each other's nicely as they explore mythical creatures related to the element of fire. From tales of the phoenix, salamanders, and fireworms from Dickinson, to McKinley's hellhounds and dragons, the stories captivate and energize the imagination. I absolutely loved this book, and each story absorbed me in its own way. The settings and characters were unique to their particular story-world, so none of them blended together generically. Instead, the reader gets to delve anew into each story's completely distinct, self-contained universe. I greatly look forward to "Air" and "Earth" by these two talented writers.
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Vittoria333 More than 1 year ago
On the summer of 1990, Ellie and her family were having a picnic near their country house. As always, she was oddly fascinated by the woods. She wanted to look further, so she went by the surroundings of a fence that separated a conservation area. There she met Dave, a strange looking boy. Later he introduced her Welly, a kind old woman who offered her a close friendship. Ellie spent joyful times along Dave and Welly every weekend. She helped them to do a census in the woods, of each living thing such as plants, trees and animals. By the time noticed a strange behavior of this partner. Dave told her the truth, at least about him. He really was a 190 years old man, but after his encounter with a magical creature, the Phoenix, his age was going backwards. Each year he was getting younger. The Phoenix was a mythical bird given to the Egyptians by their Sun god Ra. Its magnificent death and rebirth was within the fire. To survive, the Phoenix needed the sun-light and a nest made into a stake. Its food consisted in branches, leaves and small adders. Ellie was later honored to meet Sonny, the name that Dave gave to its flame glistening friend. Introducing “The Phoenix”, one of the fantasy stories written by Peter Dickinson, who has a richly detailed events and settings. Is a magical tale that will entertain and get the reader’s excitement. Recommended especially to the ones attracted by the Egyptian mythology and its enchanting tales.
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CalypsoBella More than 1 year ago
i read my library's version and the punctuation was distracting. i had a hard time getting into Dickinson's stories and didn't finish all of them. McKinley's however were excellent and everything I've come to expect from her. Her style is beautiful and as magical as her worlds.
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