Lately with my romance binge, I’ve shifted away from my fantastical adventures. But with the quarantine going on it was time for me to switch it up and get back to fantasy! I received an ARC of this book months ago from Penguin Teen CA and because I am a fool I haven’t read it yet, until now obviously.
That being said, I am very excited to be sharing this review with you today because I went through some emotions with this novel!
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
Pub Date: Oct 15th, 2019
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.
These characters..well well well. This book stars a socially awkward and shy main character and I was living my best life. Annie is great at dragon riding but she is not so great at being in the spotlight and public speaking. She is considered lesser for not being able to exude confidence so easily and is constantly put down for it. And well I adore her. I truly do. And I relate to the struggle. She’s still flawed in many ways and her past is tragic on so many levels, but I really liked reading about her growth and development to making a voice for herself. Then there is Lee. The golden boy. He’s all confidence and smarts and pizzazz and he is totally being raised into the regime that slaughtered his family. Yeah, he is in a sticky situation and it is a constant push and pull with him. I liked Lee well enough although I must admit I was not his biggest fan at some points. But in the end I did like him and admired his ability to muster the courage and face the things he had to do.
Other characters…made this story all the more fun. At first I thought Duck was a little irritable, but he pulled through in the end. Crissa was fabulous despite um being a little intrusive in my ship plans. Actually both of these last characters were. But the support that these characters have for the MCs is admirable! In addition with a few more secondary characters, I liked the sense of found family among the students. Except for Power. Oh Power. He was a dick and we loved to hate him
The family drama. Gosh wow. So much trauma and tension in one theme. I can’t even begin to explain this without spoilers, but the choices that these characters had to make!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A choice of found family between blood. A choice in which you find both sides disappointed in you in the end! I loved how the book explored the difficulty of this decision. I loved how we got to see both sides and be torn just like the characters. IT WAS SO SOUL CRUSHING!
The political mess. Let it be known that trading in one kind of extreme for another is not always righting a wrong. I could smell the corruption from a mile away, but then again I have the advantage of being the reader. That characters had to figure it out for themselves and I am quite surprised about who actually knocked some sense into Annie and Lee. The political intrigue of this story is a phenomenal. It never stops giving from beginning to end. Truly fantastic.
The dragon goodness. This book promised dragons and it delivered. These majestic creatures were important in every part of this book. From the character development to the political machinations and the history of the culture, dragons just made it more intense. The addition of a tournament with these creatures only added to the fun and suspense!
The romance was tripping me in every which way and I loved it. The synopsis promised romance and boy oh boy did I make a ship and then fear for it! I never expected a slow burn friends to rivals to lovers to questionable relationship kind of thing from this book but that’s what I got and I loved it. It made me wait and yearn and worry and we appreciate that in books.
I was a little confused here and there with the politics and social hierarchy. Basically we have to learn two at a time, the old regime and the new, and unfortunately the systems could get a little convoluted at times. Eventually I was able to get the difference, but it took a while and it gets more clear towards the end. That being said, a glossary or like an index of how the social order worked would have been amazing. If I had that I certainly wouldn’t have been that lost at times.
The pacing was also a bit crazy. The book is told through a dual perspective but the author would switch POVs within chapters. That would not have been a problem if the timelines matched up better. That’s not to say that the timelines were wildly different but it was just a little disorienting how we had to go back and revisit something that happened that we were told about in passing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While it is not perfect, I think it is an incredible story. The dragons and the characters will have you loving every minute. The political turmoil will have you on the edge of your seat. And the tragicish-happyish ending will leave you wanting more which is exactly what makes this book so great!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Oh yes!
Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? What are your favourite dragon fantasy books? What are your favourite mythical creatures?