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.
What I Loved
Fireborn is an epic fantasy tale that just amazed me with its scope and depth. Children with no place else to go can come to the Hunting Lodge, let go of the past, and train to be part of a new family that protects all their world’s seven clans. By its very nature, the Hunting Lodge trains heroes. The great world-building brought to life a land very different from our own that is full of dangerous and magical creatures but also has familiar and cute animals like Widget, the main character’s pet squirrel.
The theme of friendship brings about an epic journey to find the kidnapped Seven, a young girl who is not very good with weapons but has something that the evil goblins want. Five, Six, and Twelve, the main character, set off with the stone guardian Dog and learn about teamwork, sacrifice, and the importance of the vows that govern their lives in the Lodge. Their path’s many life and death dangers keep the pace very quick and the pages turning faster and faster. There is barely time to catch your breath before the rescue team faces a new creature or obstacle.
An omniscient narrator works very well in this story. It allows the world to be described in intricate detail that is necessary to understand and visualize it. The characters are so well-detailed that you feel their pain as they each grapple with the past tragedies that brought them to the Lodge. And the creatures are described in enough detail so that I did not have any trouble imagining them and the danger they presented.
Reminds Me Of
I am at a loss for what this story reminds me of. It is a story that basks in originality.
Twelve is the main character. A thirteen-year-old girl who is physically strong, has a large chip on her shoulder, and pushes everybody away swiftly and surely. Despite that, I couldn’t help feeling compelled by her pain to root for her successes. I love how she consciously learns from her mistakes, determined not to repeat them, and how her determination continues until she is to the point of recklessness. Her relationship with Widge, her pet squirrel, humanizes her until, at times, she is even likable. I also enjoyed her numbered teammates – Five, Six, and Seven and loved watching them all learn to work together, protect each other, and show love and compassion even when faced with peril. And Dog deserves mention too. The steadfast guardian easily won my heart as he went against his instincts and helped the huntlings on their journey.
What I Wish
I don’t have any technical wishes, as this book is spot on in all categories. My only wish, then, is that Twelve continues to let her heart grow and build to nurture those connections she made in this story.
☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️ (five out of five suns)
To Read or Not to Read
This is a fantasy tale intended for the middle grades reader, but the scope and depth are so epic that they should easily appeal to older readers. I am blown away by this story and believe you should join me and the characters on this epic journey.
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.