The Firekeeper Saga by Jane Lindskold is a fantasy series based around a Wild Child girl who was raised by wolves and brought back to human society. Where it would usually appear as your standard High Fantasy, the author has twisted the standard setting a lot and eliminated most of the Worldbuilding Non Sequiturs usually found in the genre.
The main character is Firekeeper, a.k.a. Lady Blysse Norwood, who was raised by wolves following a fire in the settlement she grew up in. However, said wolves were Royal Wolves, a species as intelligent as humans and able to communicate with each other and the other Royal animals. When she was adopted by human aristocrats, she gained her other, more formal name.
She has a Talking Animal companion, the wolf Blind Seer, so named for his unusually colored eyes. He often functions as a mild Deadpan Snarker, making fun of the humans who can't understand him behind their backs.
Her human friends include Derian Carter, a businessman's son and later counselor to King Tedric; Lady Elise Archer, heir to a barony and rather tougher than she usually looks; Sir Jared Surcliffe, a.k.a. Doc, a minor nobleman and not-so-minor doctor; and a whole host of others.
List of books:
- Through Wolf's Eyes (2001)
- Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart (2002)
- The Dragon of Despair (2003)
- Wolf Captured (2004)
- Wolf Hunting (2006)
- Wolf's Blood (2007)
- Wolf's Search (2019)
- Wolf's Soul (2020)
This series provides examples of:
- Animal Motifs: The Great Houses of Hawk Haven and Bright Bay all have animal totems, as do the animal societies.
- Blessed with Suck: The Once Dead. Survivors of the Burning Plague who are able to retain, and even increase, their magical gifts, but at the cost of some form of maiming or disfigurement. The only exceptions to this are Firekeeper and Blind Seer, who approached the issue through a different angle.
- BrotherSister Incest:
- One of the legends told of the Meddler is of him helping a pair of young lovers forbidden from being together by the boy's father. Going along with his tendency to not think things through and ignore consequences, it's revealed only after the pair run away together that they're half-siblings, the sister didn't know this, but the brother did.
- Towards the end of the series, we learn that Tiniel was in love with Isende. Her relationship with Derian and other factors concerning her are a large part of what drive his actions in the sixth book.
- Carnivore Confusion: The "it happens. Deal with it." variety. In fact, also partially subverted in Wolf's Head, Wolf's Heart with the Story of the Songbirds, in which the Royal predators decided to prey only on other Royals, which caused big problems.
- Cataclysm Backstory: The series is set in a group of countries that were originally colonies of empires badly weakened by a magical plague.
- Conjoined Twins: Tiniel and Isende were born connected at the hand.
- Didn't Think This Through: A trademark of the Meddler. At least in the fables that talk about him, he tries to act on something only to then realize how bad of an idea it actually was.
- Disappeared Dad: No one but Duchess Kestrel knows who fathered Sweet Eirene or Earl Kestrel, and she isn't talking.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Firekeeper wears footgear as rarely as possible, and throws fits when told to put shoes on.
- Elective Broken Language: Firekeeper usually speaks pidgin language because she believes proper grammar to be "unnecessary"; however, she can, and does, speak normally when she needs to make sure she is understood.
- Finger in the Mail: Citrine's fingers, sent to Lady Melina. Her only reaction is to burn them.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Virim. When Firekeeper and friends reach his tower they find dozens upon dozens of Virims, all arguing with one another and representing every second guessing of himself.
- Happily Adopted: Sapphire and Citrine. Neither seems particularly hesitant to call their adopted parents father.
- Immune to Fate: Firekeeper's nature makes it hard for Seers such as Truth to accurately predict events she's involved in.
- More Than Mind Control: Lady Melina makes use of a wide variety of subtle control tactics, some of which we would recognise as hypnotism, some as social manipulation, but others seem to verge on actual mental suggestion. Her victims are not totally mindless zombies, simply lulled into complacency and inclined to obsess about the things she suggests they should.
- Non-Human Sidekick:
- Zig-zagged. Although Firekeeper has them (the wolf Blind Seer, the falcon Elation, and sometimes Bee Biter), she's basically the human sidekick to a gang of wolves. Also, the "sidekicks" in question have their own opinions and tend to do what they want, not what she wants.
- Blind Seer is perhaps more accurately described as a Non Human Love Interest
- Rags to Riches: Not quite Rags, but Derian goes from a carter's son to royal counselor to diplomat to national leader in his own right.
- Raised by Natives: Firekeeper. Even though she's Raised by Wolves (and it shows), the Royal Wolves and Beasts are the natives.
- Succession Crisis: The entire first book centers around one. Firekeeper is brought to civilization because Earl Kestral believes that she is his niece, the king's granddaughter, and potential heir to the throne. She isn't. The King knows it, but he's perfectly content to pretend otherwise to keep the political situation in hand
- Theme Naming:
- All of Melina's children are named for precious stones.
- Surnames among Hawk Haven's common folk are often taken from and indicative of their professions. In fact, Derian Carter becomes known as Derian Counselor once the king names him such.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Book four moves the story to a totally new region of the world, leaving unresolved plot points from the original region (Valora's grudge against Bright Bay and Hawk Haven for removing her from the throne of Bright Bay, the settler's grudge against Firekeeper for getting them evicted from their settlement, the possibility that the Royal Beasts deliberately destroyed Barden's settlement) forever unresolved.