A stunning start to a YA fantasy series!

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kerrioke Avatar


“They watch us kneel, they see the back of our heads, and they think we’ve given in. They don’t realize you can think from your knees just as well as from your feet.”

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

We all have those books that we read that we absolutely love, but seems to be under the radar in the wider bookish community. Books that capture our imagination, make us ache, but don’t get talked about all that much. Fireborne is one of those books for me! This was an absolute treat to read and, yet, I don’t see a lot of people talking about it. So allow me to throw my thoughts out there and hopefully get more people on the Fireborne train!

This story follows two main characters: Lee and Annie. Lee and Annie are both orphans for very different reasons. Annie’s family was burned to death by her former dragonlord, one of the leaders of the old regime that used to rule over the island of Callipolis. Lee is the son of the same dragonlord and watched his entire family die on the day that the people rebelled and overthrew them. Now, both Annie and Lee are the top two dragonriders that protect the new regime, competing for the title of Firstrider. They have grown up taking care of one another and both are passionate about becoming Firstrider, though for different reasons. Then, survivors of the old regime reveal themselves and their intention to take back the island. Loyalties and relationships are tested and nothing will be the same.

Y’ALLLLLL, THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD! It’s taken me forever to start this review because all I want to do is just shout “This is AMAZING!” and throw it at people. Throwing books at people makes them want to read them, right? I’m going to seem semi-articulate in this review, though.

First, let’s talk about the world-building of this novel, because it is absolutely top tier! Rosaria Munda has crafted a world that will captivate you from page one. There’s a lot of history here but at no point does it feel like the author is just dumping information on top of you. The history is brought up organically and is so fascinating that you want to learn more! I loved burrowing into Callipolis and I didn’t want to leave. I found the fact that this world was inspired by classics like Plato’s Republic interesting, as well. Hand-in-hand with the world-building, the plot was impeccably constructed, as well! I will say, there were a few moments that lagged just a tad for me, but, overall, it was compelling from beginning to end. AND THE ENDING! Ugh, that ending was perfect but also made me ANXIOUS. I guess I should be happy that the sequel is already out 😁

My personal favorite thing about this book, though, was the characters and their relationships. Annie and Lee are such well-developed and compelling protagonists that make you want to know everything about them. I quickly became attached to both of them and was entirely invested in their journey. And what a journey they both have! There’s so much emotional turmoil and growth for both Annie and Lee to tangle with and it’s told in a beautifully evocative way. I felt their pain and their struggles, which made me even more attached. The secondary characters, though more in the background of course, feel just as real, which made me love this book even more. Give me all the well-crafted characters arcs, pleeeeease!

Final thoughts: This was such a fun young adult fantasy with a lot of political intrigue and a lot of heart. The characters are all incredibly vivid, to the point that you find yourself connecting to them almost as soon as you meet them. You feel their pain and cheer their growth as they struggle through the trials Rosaria Munda has written for them. The world-building is immaculate and, though bits of the book can lag, it keeps you captivated from beginning to end. And I haven’t even mentioned the dragons! If you like fantasy that examines complicated political machinations and gives you wonderful character growth on top of high-flying action, I think you would love Fireborne!