Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of Fireborn, a magical middle grade adventure that has captured my heart, and that of everyone else who has been on this blog tour, run by The Write Reads.
Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.
Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other–and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.
Ember is full of monsters.
Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.
But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.
From the beginning, Twelve is a very abrasive character, not keen to make social or emotional connections, all for reasons we slowly unravel throughout the pages. The enforced proximity with the other training Hunters has made some of them bond closely, while other, like Twelve, stay on the edges of it all.
Despite this, fellow Huntling Seven has made attempts to get closer with Twelve, even giving her a baby squirrel she finds, who becomes relatively tame, and Twelve names Widge. He keeps her company, snuggled in her furs, throughout most of the book, and I would absolutely add him to my list of favourite animal companions. Between him and The Guardian, who they call Dog, this book gets 10/10 for animal sidekick quality.
Twelve has to do a huge amount of soul searching throughout the course of the book, most of it forced onto her by the circumstances she faces, but also through her dreams. Usually given a soothing drink to give her a dreamless sleep, while on her resuce mission, she has to brave the nights without it, and is forced to confront her memory filled dreams. Although she has no choice over this matter, she doesn’t turn back, run or hide; as someone who is plagued by nightmares, I admire this strength of character, especially in someone so young.
Some of the moments in this book are beautiful moments of growth, lessons we all need to learn somewhere along the way, and introducing the idea of being the person you want to be, and letting go of our prejudices to see the bigger picture, are things that are wonderful themes to give in a middle grade book.
Overall, it was a high impact, strongly written read that I can’t wait to see a sequel to.
About the Author
Aisling was born in 1985 and wishes that she had grown up in a magical, mountainous kingdom, but was actually raised in Surrey on a diet of books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her early ‘adventure’ stories involved surprisingly little action and her first novel (3 pages long) was politely declined by publishers at age 11. After earning a BSc in Biology and working as a support worker and then a nurse, the idea for her debut novel, Fireborn, came to her as she moved back and forth between London and the US. Now based in Hackney, when she is not reading or writing, Aisling loves cooking and plotting adventures (for herself as well as her fictional characters). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.
Thank you to Harper Collins for my ARC of the book, and to The Write Reads for all his hard work as always!