I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
Series: The Aurelian Cycle #1
Length: 448 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge
Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that's full of rivalry, romance... and dragons.
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.
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? Do you like 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 smarts.
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!