Firethorn - Sarah Micklem This is that book people keep asking for in Fantasy, but secretly wonder if they'd actually want to read: the one about small things happening to common people and not about the high king and the fate of the world.

As it turns out, it's a page turner. I think there must be a kind of temptation, when writing this sort of story, to broaden the scope, give the characters more power, make the story more extraordinary, but Micklem resists and the book stays tightly focused on the psuedo-domestic (as much as possible in a war camp, anyway) sphere despite the epic war brewing in the background.

In some ways, the characterization - of everyone except the first person narrator - feels somewhat thin, but viewed through her perspective, makes sense - the reader is left with the same powerless uncertainty about others - their character, their honesty, their feelings and motivation - that she herself has.

Another really strong point is in the smooth mix of religeon and superstition woven into the worldbuilding in a way that dodges the fantasy tendency to give characters basically modern mindsets.