Cover image for Flame
Bell, Hilari.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2003]

Physical Description:
344 pages : map ; 22 cm.
The land of Farsala has been prosperous and respected, but now three young people, Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi see time's wheel turning, with Farsala headed towards destruction.
Reading Level:
Ages 12 and up.

890 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.1 13.0 73554.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.7 19 Quiz: 42872.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Clearfield Library X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult
Grand Island Library X Young Adult Fiction Young Adult

On Order



"Who was Sorahb?" Stories are told of a hero who will come to Farsala's aid when the need is greatest. But for thousands of years the prosperous land of Farsala has felt no such need, as it has enjoyed the peace that comes from being both feared and respected. Now a new enemy approaches Farsala's borders, one that neither fears nor respects its name and legend. But the rulers of Farsala still believe that they can beat any opponent. Three young people are less sure of Farsala's invincibility. Jiaan, Soraya, and Kavi see Time's Wheel turning, with Farsala headed toward the Flames of Destruction. What they cannot see is how inextricably their lives are linked to Farsala's fate -- until it's too late. In "Flame," the first volume of The Book of Sorahb, Hilari Bell introduces readers to a world of honor, danger, and magic in this spellbinding tale of self-discovery.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-10. Here's a rousing start to a new series, The Book of Sorahb, from the author of A Matter of Profit (2001) and The Goblin Wood (2003). Steeped in Persian mythology, the story is set in Farsala, a peaceful land now targeted for invasion by the Hrum, who have already conquered 28 other countries. As the enemy advances, routing the overconfident Farsalan army, three young people caught up in the fray move inexorably toward new futures in which they will play leading roles in the outcome and aftermath of the war. They are Soraya, the spoiled daughter of the Farsalan army's high commander;iaan, the high commander's peasant-born bastard son; andavi, an itinerant peddler and sometime con artist. Intrigue builds upon intrigue, with a history of Farsala woven into the story's main events. Once again Bell proves a master at crafting distinctive societies and characters, and readers will eagerly await the promised future installments. --Sally Estes Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the bracing first installment of Bell's (The Goblin Wood) planned three-part fantasy series, The Book of the Sorahb, the land of Farsala is facing invasion by the notoriously vicious warrior nation of Hrum. The temple priests say that the gods must be assuaged in order to save Farsala, so they demand the commander of the military sacrifice his 15-year-old daughter, Soraya. Soraya's exile to the wilderness-where, ostensibly, the fates will decide whether to let her live or die-is one of three stories that unfold. More compelling are the other two: Jiaan, a bright young ex-peasant who is taken under the commander's wing and rises to the occasion when the day of battle arrives; and Kavi, a crooked merchant, captured by the Hrum while peddling fake gold merchandise and forced to become a spy against his homeland. The cast is fully formed: the bad guys aren't entirely bad, the good guys not entirely good (the Hrum appear enlightened, even giving full citizenship rights to their captors, while the Farsala at times appear more ruthless). Another subplot concerns a fascinating back story of two star-crossed lovers and their offspring who is to become the messianic savior of the Farsala nation, and who promises to figure heavily in the second volume. The first few chapters are a bit intimidating, even confusing, though: Bell constructs her world with a daunting new vocabulary, and readers will likely have to read the book's opening more than once. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-Adventure, mythology, politics, military tactics, and intrigue combine in this sweeping fantasy that draws its underpinnings from ancient Persian poetry and the relentless march of the Roman army. The story of Farsala and its fight to remain free of the domination of the Hrum is told from the viewpoint of three young people: Jiaan, the illegitimate son of Merahb, High Commander of the Farsalan army; Merahb's spoiled daughter, Soraya; and Kavi, a traveling merchant who has suffered at the hands of the ruling deghans. As the Hrum army advances inexorably on Farsala, these three discover their own unique roles in the survival of their country. Notions of freedom, ability, and responsibility play out against a panorama of magic and majesty. The crisp dialogue, finely tuned characterizations, and vivid descriptions make the people and landscape seem as real as those in any grand historical epic. The inevitable comparison between Rome and Hrum adds to the feeling of reality, while the inclusion of the ancient legend about Rostam and Sorahb not only increases the sense of mythological mystery, but also provides a backdrop for Farsala's lush, Persianlike culture. Fantasy lovers as well as boys who delight in military minutiae will be left waiting breathlessly to discover the fate of Farsala and the three young people on whom its survival depends.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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