I don't quite know how to express my love for this book. I'll admit I was a little skeptical, going in, and the sheer number of characters introduced in just the first two chapters was a bit overwhelming—but by the end of that second chapter, I was already on my way to falling hard. I love the world—it's vibrant and clearly well-developed, and it allows for some awesome examination of sexism, classism, and privilege. There's even a reference to ableism! I also find the very real, gray-area-ness of all of it extremely compelling—our MCs have to grapple with a lot of hypocrisy in the society around them, and they're often forced to choose between multiple terrible options.
I really truly love all the characters—well, all the good characters, anyway—and I especially adore Lee and Annie. They're both struggling with things inside and outside of themselves, and just trying to do the best they can for their people and be the best people they can be, and I'm rooting for them both so hard.
The very best part of this book, though, is the relationship between Annie and Lee. If I'm being honest, this relationship hits the very weakest of all my weak spots: I am utterly thrilled by any situation in which two characters have some sort of deep, strong connection that everyone around them can sort of see but not quite understand. The history between Annie and Lee, and the way they know each other, seriously just gets me so worked up—they hit a lot of rough spots in this book, but underneath everything, they just have such profound respect for each other, and care about each other so deeply. I mean, even when they're not on speaking terms, you know they'd each drop everything for the other in a heartbeat. And I don't even mean that in a romantic way, necessarily—but oh man, the tension between them. *fans self*
It feels like it's been a long time since I've been this on fire (haha) about a book—Fireborne is, without doubt, my favorite read so far this year, and The Aurelian Cycle is very likely my new favorite current series. I seriously can't comprehend the idea of waiting at least another year for book two.