Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)

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Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
October 15, 2019
ISBN
978-0525518211
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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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Dragons, An Unlikely Hero, and a Heart-Breaking Romance
(Updated: November 11, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
In all seriousness, Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is the best. I have nothing to compare it to. It is unique, yet takes elements I love from other fantasy novels and breathes new life into them. Do you like dragons? Do you like revolution? An unlikely hero? Do you love a heart-breaking romance? If you said yes to more than one of these, you are going to love Fireborne. Following two orphans of the revolution, Fireborne explores what happens to society and the teens left behind to rebuild it.

Annie and Lee are opposites. Annie is a former serf, orphaned when her family was executed by the dragonlord they served. She’s timid and shy, but very smart. Her brains take her far. She is allowed a dragon and trained as one of the new riders. Lee is the orphaned son of one of the dragonlords. He should have died, yet he was spared. No one knows how or why, and no one knows his true identity. He keeps it secret. His family was hated and despised, Lee knows that if his identity was ever leaked, he’d be killed. It is the mercy that he was shown and Annie’s history that gives Lee a unique perspective. Lee doesn’t want revenge for what was done to his family, he wants to move past it and build a better future for those that survived.

I love both Annie and Lee. They are unlikely friends that depend on each other to make them better. Lee cares deeply for Annie which is evident from their first interaction. Annie cares just as deeply, but also is confused. She knows who he is, even if the name was never spoken. This silence drives a wedge in their relationship, and when we the readers first meet them it is painful to see. The author’s writing evokes a powerful response from the reader. It is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. I truly felt both their pain and hurt. I just wanted to wrap them both in a hug.

The plot is centered around a tournament, which all the dragonriders have entered. Each win gets them closer to being the leader of the new dragonriders, an aerial fleet for the kingdom. The undertones of the tournament and education they receive is different than what the general public receives. History is being rewritten by the winners of the revolution that occurred ten years prior. Annie, Lee, and the other riders know it. The question is when is it too much. When do you tell the truth and when do you tell a pretty lie? This book explores propaganda and a society in which people are divided not by their birth but by their intelligence.

Overall, if you haven’t guessed already, I love Fireborne. It is a fantastic read. The details and the dragons, the new government, and Lee and Annie drive the plot making it a fast read. If you enjoy YA fantasy with a heavy dose of politics, I highly recommend it. Me? I’m just going to be over here waiting for the next installment with bated breath because I need it ASAP please!

**This review first appeared on Mom with a Reading Problem. To see it and others like it, visit https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com
Good Points
-Not your typical YA fantasy
-Fully fleshed-out characters
-Focus on new government and rebuilding
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intense YA fantasy with good world-building
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
FIREBORNE is a new YA fantasy that follows two teens, Lee and Anna (Antigone) in alternating points-of-view. Lee and Anna came from the same orphanage but with vastly different histories, and bonded during their time there. Their country is still in turmoil after a revolution to overthrow the previous government of dragonlords created a new structure. The dragonlords and their families subjugated the people with their dragons, which were also supposed to keep the people safe. They and their families were all killed in the revolution- or they were thought to have been.

Leo was a young boy and was almost killed but saved unexpectedly and then forgotten, assuming a different name (Lee) and not speaking about his past. Anna was a peasant who suffered under the old regime and has a bit of a troubled relationship with Lee- he has been there for her, but his father subjected her to a horrible ordeal and left her an orphan. The new government is predicated on everyone having an equal chance to rise, and so they are both now dragonriders and contending for the highest position of Firstrider.

The best part of the book are the philosophical discussions/implications about politics and what makes people good/evil, presenting both sides of a revolution. As Lee begins to choose for himself the future, he must confront his family, the new government and its imperfections. This provides some really interesting and deep thoughts about governments, rebellions, and all the gray areas of politics between black and white.

I have some mixed feelings about the book, because while some things were done really well, I found it difficult to really get into. Some of this was probably because of the repetitiveness of some ideas/discussions. It almost gets a little too deep into Lee and Anna's heads in places, and I like faster paced fantasies, so this may be personal preference. The world-building is really fantastic though, with history, people, and everything being displayed so well- this was a country and people I could certainly imagine.

Overall, this was an intriguing read which provides a platform for some deep thoughts about society and politics/government that make it a strong read. While I would have liked faster pacing, this has a very strongly built world and characters that make it a solid read. I would be interested in continuing with the series. The dragons and history make this quite an intense and thought-provoking read overall.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.8
Plot 
 
4.7  (3)
Characters 
 
4.7  (3)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (3)
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Fireborne, an outstanding YA dragon fantasy
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor were treated abominably by their "Dragonlords". The main characters are Lee, the son of a Dragonlord killed in the uprising, and Annie, whose family was slaughtered by Lee's father. They are training to ride dragons to be able to defend their country.
I read an ARC of Fireborne and loved it. It was plot and character driven, fast paced and had great world building. The characters inspire empathy and the reader very quickly cares what is going to happen to them. The Dragons add an exciting dimension to the story. Attitudes and values from the old and new regimes cause tension between the characters. Lee is faced with a difficult choice when his loyalty to the new regime is questioned by the appearance of a family member from the old one. Inspired by the Aenid and the Republic, Fireborne is thought provoking and raises a lot of ethical questions about how to structure a society.
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Fireborne, an outstanding YA dragon fantasy
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Fireborne is a fantasy novel set nine years after a bloody uprising against a brutal regime in which the poor were treated abominably by their "Dragonlords". The main characters are Lee, the son of a Dragonlord killed in the uprising, and Annie, whose family was slaughtered by Lee's father. They are training to ride dragons to be able to defend their country.
I read an ARC of Fireborne and loved it. It was plot and character driven, fast paced and had great world building. The characters inspire empathy and the reader very quickly cares what is going to happen to them. The Dragons add an exciting dimension to the story. Attitudes and values from the old and new regimes cause tension between the characters. Lee is faced with a difficult choice when his loyalty to the new regime is questioned by the appearance of a family member from the old one. Inspired by the Aenid and the Republic, Fireborne is thought provoking and raises a lot of ethical questions about how to structure a society.
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Four Stars, I enjoyed this despite the Plato
(Updated: October 16, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I’m going to start out this post by letting it be known by all and sundry that I was provided with a physical finished copy of Fireborne from the publisher for publicity posting and a digital review copy from the publisher via Netgalley and FFBC in exchange for an open and honest review. I’m way too opinionated for this to sway me but the FTC requires me to make this sort of thing known. Now, on to the good stuff!
I enjoyed reading Fireborne for the most part, I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of riding dragons? But y’all, I have hated Plato for nearly a quarter of a century now and Fireborne screamed its ties to Plato so loudly the entire time I was reading the book. I spent half the time reading the book muttering ”I freaking hate Plato”. I thoroughly applaud Ms Munda though, if Fireborne wasn’t so well-written, I wouldn’t have made it through the book and I would have taken a while to make the connection to Plato. The world-building in Fireborne is hardcore and so in-depth that you can practically see the story taking place around you. There are so many characters that climb out of the book and act out the story for you.
That being said, there’s more to Fireborne than my distaste of Plato. There is romance and subterfuge, betrayal and heartache, competition and political turmoil. Fireborne centres around Lee sur Pallor and Antigone sur Aela, two orphans brought together as small children in an orphanage who grow up together, closer and closer, knowing that their pasts are twisted round each other in a choking knot. They’re now teens and facing each other in a contest for position as First Rider in the new regime’s dragonrider corps. As with all teens, there are hormones running amok and tempers getting out of hand left and right, and oh yeah, family acting out in the wings killing people and loyalties being called into question. For the most part, I’m a fan, but the love polyhedron thing? Not really. I want to throw Crissa off a dragon mid-flight because chicks before…. you know where I’m going with that. And I still haven’t figured out Power. Duck annoys me, he’s like an untrained dog you’re worried is going to lift his leg and pee on Annie to mark his territory half the time. Get the girl a clicker. But these are kids being trained for battle and serving their people, what else do you expect but messed up kids?
I’m still not sure about where I stand on continuing this series, but I do know that this was a 4-star read. Weird, right? But I can’t discount the storyline or the writing, I may be angsty over whether or not I personally like the story, but I do know when an author’s done an amazing job. Despite the Plato.
Good Points
I enjoyed the premise used in Fireborne, drawing from Plato despite my distaste for the man and throwing a 'what if' into things and adding dragons. Always add dragons.
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