It’s time for another The Write Reads blog tour! This time, I’ll be talking about a debut middle grade fantasy that absolutely captured my imagination: Fireborn by Aisling Fowler! I had so much fun reading this and now I’m extra excited to talk about it.
But, before I get to the review, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads, the publisher, Harper Collins, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation with this tour. As always, it is very much appreciated!
Now, let’s get to the post 😁
“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.”
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.
I love a book where I can easily get lost in the story. A book that snags your imagination as soon as you read the first line and doesn’t let go til you hit the last page. A book that can leave you breathless, wondering what’s going to happen next. And Fireborn is that kind of book!
We follow the story of a young girl called Twelve. She is a trainee at the renowned Hunting Lodge, where she is learning to fight the monsters of Ember. But Twelve has a secret reason for all her hard work. She is planning revenge against the clan that took her family from her. Before Twelve gets a chance to enact her plan, though, the Lodge is attacked and she finds herself on a perilous journey that could change the world she lives in.
Ahhh, this was such a fun read! Fun and decidedly dark for a middle grade, which I kind of loved. This is not a story that shies away from the uglier human emotions and I think it’s so important to have more middle grades like this. Twelve is angry. She has a lot of rage inside of her and I think the author does an incredible job of diving into it and letting us see the hows and whys. Letting us watch Twelve try and grapple with her emotions in a real way. And, even if there were moments I wanted to talk some sense into her, it didn’t make her feel any less vivid. I think this author did an incredible job developing her main character! The secondary characters felt a little flat to me until closer to the end, but this is the beginning of a series, so I’m sure we’ll be able to see them become more fleshed out. And I, for one, am eager to continue the journey with them!
Beyond the characters, I thought the world-building in this was top-notch. I got a real sense of Ember and all the dangers and beauty it holds without ever feeling like I was being spoon-fed information. I loved the wintery feel of this book, too. Made me want to read it snuggle in a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa! The descriptions and the imagery were all beautifully done and really kept me engrossed in the story. I flew through this book and I can’t wait to read more in this world.
Oh, and how can I not mention the animal companions!! If you’re a fan of books featuring animal companions, this is kind of a must read. Widge and Dog are the best and no one will ever change my mind 😤
Final thoughts: This was a fun, action-packed middle grade adventure that doesn’t shy away from some strong emotions. It’s pace will leave you breathless (in a good way!) and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the main group of characters. And, bonus points, there’s not one, but two animal companions! The plot is intriguing, the world-building is captivating, and it’s just a really good time. If you prefer your middle grade fantasy to lean towards the darker side, but with bright spots of light littered throughout, characters you can root for, and loads of action, I think you would enjoy Fireborn!