This post contains a gifted item.
Working as a children’s bookseller means I’m always so excited to find new books to recommend and rave about, so when I had the chance to receive an advanced copy of a new middle grade fantasy I obviously had to jump and take it.
I’d heard such great things about this book from friends and on social media so I couldn’t wait to pick it up and read it. Keep on reading for my spoiler free review of Fireborn by Aisling Fowler!
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Source: Gifted by the publisher
Twelve has spoken the Pledge and now she is a Huntling. She has given up her name to train in the art of fighting monsters and keeping the peace, and she won’t get to choose a new one until she has earned it.
But when the Lodge’s walls are breached for the first time, and a little girl is taken, Twelve is the only one interested in going after a child . . .
Teaming up with Dog, the Stone Guardian of the Lodge, Twelve ends up on an epic adventure that will change her life, her name – and her entire world.
Content warnings: Death, forced outing, gore, PTSD
My review of Fireborn
There are many things that indicate a “good book” to me personally, and one of them is whether I am able to sink into the story and devour it during my lunch breaks at work. And Fireborn? Well let’s just say it was hard to come back to reality when it hit 2pm.
I found the world to be easily immersive; each scene played out like a film in my head and that’s what made it so easy for me to find my footing in this world. There was enough intrigue to keep me hooked but not too much that I felt like I was just waiting for everything to wrap up.
The plot was fast moving and I loved this adventurous feel, where I couldn’t wait to follow our characters around and see where their journey would take them. Despite this being a middle grade novel, it was definitely quite dark and mature with it’s themes and I did like this element!
I really enjoyed the themes of friendship that featured heavily throughout this novel. I’m a sucker for found families and groups on shared quests, so this ticked all the boxes for me. Each character brought their own unique take to the plot which only aided how immersive this read was. There is also an LGBTQ+ character and though I didn’t really love how their sexuality was revealed to the other characters, and I cannot comment on the accuracy of the representation, we do love a diverse cast!
The inclusion of lots of different monsters and beasts made for interesting reading, and I enjoyed learning about these creatures and the world they inhabit, particularly through the Beastiary that Twelve carries with her. Speaking of animals, I have to give a special mention to Twelve’s little squirrel companion – I was genuinely terrified each time they got into battle!
Every time I thought I knew where the plot was heading, it swiftly changed direction and I loved this. It will keep you guessing for sure, and the flashbacks to Twelve’s past from before she joined the Lodge help to cement the foundations of the story.
If you’re looking for a new middle grade fantasy adventure story with found family, a main character you’ll root for and a new world to immerse yourself in, then pick up Fireborn today!