Title: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1)
Author: Rosaria Munda
ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
There are not enough words to describe my feelings about this book. Finishing this book left me feeling utterly speechless. I’m awestruck that this is Rosaria Munda’s debut, because it was nothing short of amazing. Fireborne is a thrilling, thought-provoking, powerful, gripping story that I can confidently say is easily my favorite book of the year, hands down.
Fireborn had been pitched as “Inspired by Plato’s Republic…Aegon Targaryen and Hermione Granger with dragons, set in the aftermath of a bloody revolution.” This is literally the most accurate book description I’ve read in my life. The story is told from the dual POVs of Lee and Annie. Lee is the only remaining survivor of the previous aristocracy who were massacred during the revolution. Annie is a orphan whose family suffered at the hands of that former aristocracy, and thanks to the new regime is offered an opportunity that would have been previously been unheard of. I found both Lee and Annie’s characters to be extremely compelling and well-written, and the complexity of their relationship was one of the highlights of the story. Both characters also had tremendous character growth by the end of the book and I was totally invested in them.
As for the book’s best feature: the political intrigue and turmoil. I’ve never said this before in a review – because in my opinion it’s in a league of its own – but if you enjoy the political intricacies and the grayness of which side is right/wrong, you will absolutely love this. This is a book in which the “good” guys do bad things, and the “bad” guys can be sympathized with. And books that have that aspect are my favorite, because in the real world there are no absolutes. Rosaria Munda does an excellent job developing those intricacies in her world and bringing adding an emotional depth to them.
Another thing I absolutely loved was the dragons! Many times, there are so-called “dragon” books, but the actual dragons are barely featured within the pages. That is definitely not the case in Fireborne. The dragons are heavily present in the story, and there are plenty of action-filled scenes with them! I also liked that the action scenes were descriptive enough to follow along and picture the scene, but not overdone to the degree where they become tedious or confusing. There are plenty of heart-pounding, page-turning scenes to love in this book!
I could go on and on about this book. I honestly had to force myself to put it down. My entire drive home from clinicals and work I fantasized about getting to read more chapters. I thought about the characters and the plot while I was in class. Fireborne is a politically-savvy, emotional, intoxicating story, and if it’s not already on your TBR, it needs to be.