Fireborne tells the story of two teenaged friends, Lee and Annie, who grew up together in the same orphanage, despite having backgrounds that could not be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was destroyed by dragonfire, while Lee is from one of the three powerful aristocratic families that was slaughtered during the revolution. Despite their different histories, both are top competitors to become Firstrider, the leader of Callipolis’ dragon fleet. However, with a war on the horizon after members of the old regime, including some of Lee’s family, resurface with the goal of taking back what is rightfully theirs, both Lee and Annie must make difficult decisions in who to trust and where their loyalties lie.
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Rosaria Munda’s writing style and her creation of the characters and the world is amazing and so vivid. I easily found myself turning pages and waiting to see what was next. I could not believe it when I flipped to the last page and the book was over, I wanted so much more!
What immediately caught my eye about this book were the dragons! I absolutely adore fantasy books that are filled with mythical and magical creatures and Munda’s dragons did not disappoint. The dragons really became their own characters in the novel and despite taking on many of the character traits of their riders, they were also so much more. I loved the connection between the dragons and their riders and the sort of friendship that was created between the two.
The world and society building that Munda did with this book was incredible. I loved the different aspects of Callipolis and seeing the whole separation of society into different metals and how this separation affected the characters. The politics of the story were also super unique and interesting to see, especially from the point of view of two teenagers. I liked that the government had its flaws and was not perfect, still having its issues even a decade after the overthrow of the previous government. This book also worked really well in delving into the idea of the difficult decisions that must be made in times of crisis and how these decisions affect the people.
I really enjoyed the different perspectives and point-of-views that the story is written in, between first-person narrations of the present written alternatively in Lee and Annie’s point of views mixed with the third-person narration of past events from Lee and Annie’s childhood. These alternating POV’s really allowed for me to feel as though I knew both characters by the novel’s end and made them come to life on the page.
I feel as though both characters grew so much in the novel and became two really unique and dynamic characters. I like that they both had their own flaws and tried to work past them despite the ups and downs along the way. I believe that both are strong characters and respond to situations in realistic ways and have these challenges that they must overcome. I also enjoyed the fact that both Lee and Annie were two completely different characters with differing personalities, backgrounds, and ideals. This really made the two stand out from each other and the other characters in the novel.
Because the main characters were so dynamic and three-dimensional, I only wish that we got a little more background information on some of the side characters, especially ones like Cor, Crissa, Duck, and Power, and even the adult figures like Atreus and Goran. Hopefully these characters play a bigger role in book two!
Overall, this book was an absolutely spectacular read, especially for a debut novel, and a must read for fantasy fans. I can’t wait for book two!