First of all, I got this book months and months ago, back in March I think, and once again I'm pretty much hitting myself on the head for not reading it sooner. Someone needs to remind me to not ever let a Michelle Diener book wait this long. With that said, we can get on to talking about the book...
When Elizabeth Jones gets rescued from a shipwreck and taken in by the Zulus, she thought to have left her life in England behind her, being content with her life as a Zulu. Six years later, however the Victorian Empire invades Zululand and has declared war. When Elizabeth, now known as Inyoni 'bird', is asked to either infiltrate and spy in the British camp or leave because her white skin could cause too much trouble, she doesn't hesitate to help the Zulus and disguises herself as a soldier. It isn't long before she's discovered by Captain Jack Burdell but he agreed to keep her secret because he believes she's looking for her brother. In doing so, he allows her to sleep in his tent. Elizabeth needing to make a choice is torn between loyalty to her home and fellow Zulus and her feelings for Jack. When Elizabeth and Jack's attraction to each other grows and turns into something more, things get intense and far more dangerous than ever as the British and Zulu army move closer and closer to each other.
I've read all of Michelle Diener's books now and everyone who knows me just a little bit knows that she's one of my favorite authors. I've always said that The Emperor's Conspiracy is my favorite book by her but... dare I say, this might be changed now... Yes! Although I still love The Emperor's Conspiracy, I loved Daughter of the Sky even more. You can tell that writing this book meant a lot to Michelle and reading it meant a lot to me because it was such an incredible book. The whole story was amazing and I just fell in love with the Zulu culture.
I must admit that I've never been interested in this kind of history. I usually always go for the history of Egypt or Victorian England, The Tudors, that kind of thing but this book let me see how this kind of history is pretty great to read about, too. I didn't know a thing about the Zulus and I was impressed by how proud, loyal and noble they were. Really amazing!
The characters Michelle creates are so great to read about. She always manages to write them in a way that's likable, not boring and pretty kick-ass. Elizabeth definitely was one of them. Her devotion for the Zulus, her intregrity towards them and her love for her Zulu family was unbelievably incredible to read about. I don't know, it gripped me by my heart. It really did.
Jack Burdell was a whole other character. Very different from Elizabeth and the Zulus but so amazing. I loved him. I love how he was intrigued by Elizabeth's more wild side which came from her being a Zulu though he didn't know that at first. Their attraction to each other was almost instantly and so sizzling.
I was also very fond of Elizabeth's Zulu brother, Lindani. I loved how much he wanted to protect Elizabeth and try to rescue her from the British camp when the fighting was starting. What happened there, broke my heart and I had so much trouble not to let go of a few tears. But even with that heartbreak the story was really beautiful.
As for the overal story, I obviously loved it and I love how Michelle tries to include real historical facts (as you can read in the afterword). I always enjoy these kind of things. Anything historical I almost want to inhale. Anyway... this was both an entertaining and wonderful to read as a fictional book but it also gives historical facts, some true, some a little spun for the story's sake but it was so, so great!
Beautiful, gripping, heart-wrenching at times, Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener is one of the best books both by this author and all-time for me, personally. I loved getting to know and explore the Zulu culture and the historical facts. I won't ever forget this amazing story and characters and am startled by how I still can be impressed by an author where I've read quite a few books from but there you go. A lot of love for this book and it has definitely more than earned five stars!