Hello, hello, hello dear friends!
I hope that you are all having a good summer so far. It’s been a long time coming for me to post something new here, but I’m so glad that it gets to be about a book this good. Thank you so much to Dave at TheWriteReads, HarperCollins, and Aisling Fowler for this opportunity!
I’m going to be talking about a fantasy novel today, friends, and it’s a middle-grade. I’m so glad that I’ve jumped onto the middle-grade train recently with these tours, and it’s really opened my eyes to a whole new genre of books that, in some cases, are a lot better than the adult fantasies that I have read in the past. Fireborn is one of them!
To summarize the book in three parts – it is a good mix of action and mystery, it is very rich in world-building, and drives home some very important messages on the nature of grief and acceptance.
So, let’s get to the review!
Title: Fireborn: Twelve and Frozen Forest
Author: Aisling Fowler
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fiction, Middle Grade,
Publication Date: 5th October 2021
Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.
Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other–and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.
Ember is full of monsters.
Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.
But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.
This is a book that was very hard to put down – and when it was down, I kept thinking about when I could read it again. The world was so rich, and filled with surprises. There were some cases where I felt like I kind of knew what was going on and what to expect from the creatures that were introduced, but that was never for very long!
The plot was fast-paced, and the action added a lot to the characters’ growth and development. There were great plot twists too, and just made the book that much more enjoyable!
The characters themselves were all dynamic, flawed and authentic in their representations, and Twelve was a heroine that was both inspiring and relatable in her complexity. The other characters, such as Five, Six, and Seven, all held their own in the story and drove the plot forward quite well. Their banter was fun to read, and whilst they had their conflicts, they seemed like a very wholesome group of children that just wanted to do what was right and were willing to take some big risks doing so. I also enjoyed the development of the relationships between the main characters and the complexities of their relationships. It was a breath of fresh air to read and kept me wanting to know more.
The “sidekicks” – Dog the Lodge Guardian, and Widge, Twelve’s pet squirrel – were very much a part of the gang, and I loved seeing them take such prominent roles in this book. They added to the more humorous and light-hearted parts of the book and took charge in the more fast-paced and action-filled scenes. They also stood apart and held their own in the story, and I’m very curious to see how their roles develop. Both creatures were an absolute joy to see and experience, and talking creatures/animal sidekicks are steadily becoming my new favourite thing
I can’t say who it is as it will be a huge spoiler, but there was queer rep! I loved to see it I also appreciate seeing someone in this book with a stutter, and how that stutter is handled by the other characters. As someone who used to have a stutter, I really appreciated it.
The fantasy elements and included in this book are comparable to other classics, such as Harry Potter, but honestly, the diversity of the cast just take it to a whole new level for me. I also loved the way that witches were portrayed in this novel and the surrounding lore about them in this world. There’s just something about the way their power is both feared and yet respected that I just spoke to me, and the variety in a witch’s abilities was a nice touch. The magic system was very cool, too, and I’m curious to see more about it.
However, my favourite thing about this book is how it tackled its main themes – such as friendship, grief, family, discrimination, and acceptance. Obviously, in a lot of fantasy books, you run the risk of being exposed to some dark themes and experiences, and this book is no different. All the children are training to be Hunters because they either lost their families or were rejected by them. They have to give up their names and their pasts in order to become Hunters. There’s a lot of grief in that, which we mostly experience through Twelve. She is reluctant to move on from her past and seeks revenge for her family, only focusing on what has been done and what she could not change. Her strained relationship with her sister and parents seen through flashbacks or dreams also add to that grief, but it’s also very authentic in its portrayal. Grief is complicated, and Aisling’s portrayal of it was so beautiful, and incredibly moving.
Fireborn is perfect for anyone, no matter their age, who is in the mood for an action-packed fantasy with great world-building, touching themes, and surprising twists. You can pre-order the book on Amazon and Book Depository.
Do you think you’ll read this book? What fantasy books have you read recently? And which do you enjoy more – middle-grade, YA, or adult? Let me know in the comments below!
Written by: Alexia DeBono
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