Hello, friends! I apologize for being woefully behind when it comes to posting here. My personal life got crazy and then I was on vacation from work, but… I’m back! And I’m super excited to share my thoughts about Fireborne with you!
Thanks to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1)
Author: Rosaria Munda
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 15, 2019
Length: 448 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.”
I wish there were an adequate and much more eloquent way for me to tell y’all how much I enjoyed this book. The plot slowly unfolds, revealing just enough to entice you to keep reading, and then when you least expect it, you’re hit with a “Wow!” moment and you don’t look back. I found the storyline utterly engaging, and I loved the contrasting worlds–the old regime and the new, and these two characters we follow, one from each. I loved the subtlety of all, the secrets and the whispers. There were times the plot was a little slow, and sometimes the back and forth was too quick for me, but overall, this was such a wonderful read. There are some twists, and to be honest, some things I saw reflected in even our contemporary, modern times. I love when a book does that.
My main complaint is that I wanted more dragons! It’s the main reason I didn’t give this book a full 5 stars is because I felt the world-building surrounding the dragons was lacking. I wasn’t really convinced of the connection between each rider and their dragon either.
I gotta be honest here… I was looking for a reason to dislike either Annie or Lee. But did I find one? No! They each have their own reasons for striving and surviving. I loved their friendship and eventual blossoming romance. There is a lot of romantic tension here, and when you think Annie or Lee will turn against each other… Well, I won’t say anything because ~spoilers~. There were reasons to admire both Annie and Lee and all for different things. There seemed to be an unspoken connection between the two as well, something their friends didn’t understand because it was developed when Annie and Lee were orphans and began looking out for one another. Their relationship becomes a little conflicted too, especially when some truths rise to the surface, waiting to be uncovered by just the right person.
I enjoyed all the side characters, too, even the ones I wanted to punch. We see how each of them worked with Annie and Lee, antagonizing or pushing them forward. I’ll really looking forward to seeing how each of them will play a part as the series continues.
I found myself completely sucked into the world. It may have taken a few chapters, but the world-building (outside of my initial complaint) was good. It felt like a truly epic tale, and to see this new world develop after the old one has been destroyed just ten years ago… I loved how Munda built and developed it. I liked that Munda allowed us to see–along with the characters–how things seem “good” in this regime while still somehow leaving people out like the old one did. I definitely got some Red Rising vibes and it was…the best feeling. I have no doubt this series will get better and better as it progresses, and I can’t wait to see the story unfold.