Desert Dwellers Born By Fire

Desert Dwellers Born By Fire

The First Book In The Paintbrush Saga

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
312 Pages
Reviewed on 12/05/2015
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Desert Dwellers Born By Fire is a young adult science fiction novel by author Sarah Bergstrom, and the first book in The Paintbrush Saga. The desert dwellers of the title are a young trio - Khalid, Lahcen and Qeriya - siblings cut off from the world by their remote upbringing in a desert community. They may have remained in obscurity, if not for the tragic onset of a mysterious and damaging illness which threatens the lives of their parents. Then it becomes time for the secrets of the trio’s hidden powers to come to light, as they embark on a quest into a world totally unlike their own, seeking the cure that will return their lives to normality. What they learn along the way raises fascinating questions about their own existence.

I have read many young adult science fiction novels which base their themes and atmospheres on elements and environments, and Desert Dwellers Born By Fire is truly unique in its approach to this technique. The barren heat of the desert is prevalent from the start in the novel’s atmospheric writing, and as the scenes shift whilst the young heroes go on questing, a rich and vivid world is created. Khalid, Lahcen and Qeriya are genuinely interesting protagonists with distinct voices and personalities, active participants in their own destinies who inspire readers to keep turning pages and see what they discover. Sarah Bergstrom unveils incredible powers, well crafted creatures and other races with effortless style, weaving a plot full of mysteries that are not quite solved by the end. Roll on book two.

Romuald Dzemo

Sarah Bergstrom’s Desert Dwellers Born By Fire is the first book in the Paintbrush Saga and a riveting story that both young readers and adults will immediately love. Three siblings live in a desert community, one with its own laws and customs, but one thing makes the kids different from everyone else — they are endowed with powers beyond their wildest imagination. Although their powers allow them to travel into a parallel universe, these same powers become a curse, for the kids are hunted for them. Just at the time they become aware that they are not like anyone else, Khalid, Lahcen and Qeriya’s parents suffer from a deadly illness — could it be a curse? — and they have to find an antidote to this curse before their parents die, but most importantly, they have to find it before someone very vicious and with deadly intent finds them.

Sarah Bergstrom’s Desert Dwellers Born By Fire is peppered with mysterious elements that create a dreamworld which will be very enchanting for young readers. The images, such as the house that sits on the edge and the computer in the water, allow both characters and readers to have a glimpse of another world and these are among the powerful elements that create a strong sense of mystery. Bergstrom has a very fertile imagination, capable of creating characters and creatures that readers will readily sympathize with. The author’s prose flows with ease and young readers will discover that her words create an enchanting world they can easily escape to. The characters are not only compelling, but will remind readers of those strong human values that bind a family together. I loved the characters and the compelling idea behind this story. A book I will happily recommend to young readers.

Gisela Dixon

Desert Dwellers Born By Fire: The First Book In The Paintbrush Saga by Sarah Bergstrom is a coming of age novel suitable for teenagers and adults alike. The story revolves predominantly around the lives, hopes, and wishes of three siblings: Khalid, Lahcen, and Qeriya. Each of the siblings has a super power that is hidden as they live in a secretive community. As they find out that their parents are seriously ill and can only be cured by a certain special flower, they are suddenly thrown into a new world that is outside of reality as they know it; they step into a world of stories that one only hears about. As the story progresses through various landscapes of deserts and volcanoes, they encounter fantastic creatures and beasts on their quest to cure and save their parents while battling deep and unknown forces. This journey through their eyes and minds forms the plot of the novel.

Desert Dwellers Born By Fire: The First Book In The Paintbrush Saga by Sarah Bergstrom is a good read for all ages. Although teenagers and young adults would enjoy it, even adults would get a lot out of it. I particularly enjoyed the vivid and rich descriptions of the desert and all of the natural surroundings throughout the book. The characters are well drawn and I felt myself wanting to know more as the book ended. Overall, this is an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading Part II in the series.

Lit Amri

Khalid, Lahcen and Qeriya are three siblings living in a secretive desert community who discover that each possesses a special, forbidden power. As they seek answers about their community and themselves, their parents are suddenly struck unconscious by a serious illness and the siblings find themselves fugitives for a reason they don't understand. As they escape and plan a means of finding an antidote far away from home, they are forced into a world previously known only through stories.

Desert Dwellers Born By Fire: The First Book in the Paintbrush Saga by Sarah Bergstrom is a charming sci-fi fantasy with captivating world building. The story set in New Earth, a planet where humans of Old Earth made their new home. Naturally, New Earth has its own unique species, and reaume, the interesting human-like beings, are one of them. Geographically, the similarities of the planet make it easy to relate to and imagine the surroundings. On the other hand, the contrast and unique features of New Earth propel the fantastical traits of the world which keeps the story interesting.

The plot is evidently well-thought out and perfectly paced. I like the way the story of the siblings and their parents’ past is told together in a parallel manner. Even though it’s geared toward the YA demographic, this is a book that adult readers should not overlook. I truly enjoyed it and Bergstrom writes splendidly. This is a new series with engaging, well-fleshed out characters. The stubborn and free-spirited Qeriya is my favorite and her adrenaline-pumping race event was fun to read. I look forward to joining her and her brothers in the next book.

Melinda Hills

Three children living in the harsh environment of the desert discover that there is more to the world than their small territory in Desert Dwellers Born By Fire: The First Book In The Paintbrush Saga by Sarah Bergstrom. Qeriya and her brother, Lahcen, have special abilities, unlike anyone else in their settlement, and discover that there are other races that exhibit these powers. While participating in the annual Desert Games, they are targeted and only the briefest use of these abilities saves their lives, allowing them to win. When the celebration of the end of the games begins, it becomes clear that the Prince has ulterior motives and they must flee for their lives. With the help of the secretive Doctor Michael who had once lived in the Palace, they set out to leave the desert and escape the giants pursuing them.

The siblings encounter amazing technology and discover evidence that they have lived under surveillance their entire lives. Even more surprising, upon escaping the mountain hideaway of the giants, they find themselves in a rainforest that is inhabited by human-like beings that can control fire and the very volcanic forces that created the world. What they learn from their cousins gives you hints about the upcoming volumes of this series and sets the stage for additional tremendous adventures.

From page one, you are drawn into a fabulous story involving special powers, a greedy king, and vengeful giants in Desert Dwellers Born By Fire: The First Book In The Paintbrush Saga by Sarah Bergstrom. The characters, locations and interactions are brilliantly developed and create a rich world of adventure and intrigue that captures your interest and holds it until the very last page – and certainly makes you glad there are additional books to come to tell more of the story of Qeriya and her family. This is a tale well worth reading for older children and even adults who enjoy a strong sci-fi story.