Written on Jan 22, 2021
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"Fireborne is everything I want in fantasy." —Rachel Hartman, New York Times bestselling author of Seraphina
Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that's full of rivalry, romance . . . and dragons.
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn't be more different. Annie's lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee's aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he's come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you've chosen.
“Known now as Guardians, the new regime’s dragonriders are lowborn, commoners, even former serfs. No long the sons of dragonlords. Except for me, though I’m the only who knows that. Because in the wake of the Revolution, to be dragonborn is to be wanted for dead. I was born Leo, son of Leon, dragonlord of Stormscourge House and Drakarch of the Far Highlands--but since the orphanage, I’ve been Lee.”
“I don’t blame Lee for spilling over, and I don’t blame him for the look of longing that transformed his face he first saw [his family]. It doesn’t take a stretch of imagination to understand what he must have felt. I know the ache of an orphan’s loneliness; I know what it is to crave the comfort of kin. I blame Lee for what followed….I blame him for the fact that I still want to trust him.”
“The lesser of two evils. It’s a far cry from what I had hoped we’d be.”
“He’d heard it said before that a kind of magic came with a dragon Choosing you--that the dragon bound you to it, that you formed a connection that was deep and full of an old magic.”
"And as with God's the world quaked, to see them fireborne."I love the way that the story unfolds, acclimating the reader to the world and the way that the regime has improved society over the last ten years. By the time talks of war began, I was rooting for the new regime that I really connected with Lee and Annie's actions. Is new always better? A regime called by any other name is still that: a ruling power. Don't open this spoiler unless you have read the book I really love how the book took its time praising how different the new regime was post-revolution and then reality smacked us all in the face at the first sign of trouble (aka war from the old regime survivors). Then it is like the reality of power and rule sets in and we & the characters are left wondering which is worse? I can't wait to see what happens next oh my god
"For the first time in my life, the old wounds are useful [... T]he memories of weakness finally serve a purpose, and once used, they never hurt the same strength again."Grief and the lingering healing from loss play a big role in the story. It's been years since the revolution, but Annie is especially haunted by the murder of her family by the old regime. I loved watching Annie start to believe in herself and allow herself to want things that she wouldn't have been allowed by birthright.
"'I watched my family get taken by dragonfire at the age of six, and I learned to ride anyway.'"With Annie and Lee being from polar opposite backgrounds - even though Annie doesn't know it - the reader is at once unsure of where their loyalties lie. The old regime was brutal and corrupt, and Annie knows first-hand what they were capable of. The revolution made things better for everyone, right?
---✨ Fireborne is one of the Reader Voracious Novel19 Books! More information about this book and the rest of my Novel19 class can be found here, and you can read my interview with Rosaria here!
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"Later, working in Paris, I wandered streets whose legacy from the French Revolution was written in defaced tombs and unmarked sites of guillotines, and I knew I wanted to write about revolution. Not about the beginnings of one--the bloody aftermath. So many beautiful YA novels have been about kids starting a revolution, but I wanted to explore the other side of it. I wanted to write about kids who had to pick up the pieces afterwards. And I wanted to inverse a closely related trope. Deposed and orphaned aristocrats seeking vengeance we have seen before--and love. But I wanted to push that further. I wanted to imagine an orphaned aristocrat who has every reason to seek revenge, until he realizes that maybe, his family did wrong, too.
And then what pulled it all together was Plato's Republic, which I studied a bit in college. I was captivated by its dystopian/utopian approach to propaganda and meritocracy. What would a society look like that granted political power unequally according to intelligence, rather than unequally according to birthright? And--even more intriguingly--what would that look like in a society where rulers ride dragons? What if a revolution transformed hereditary dragonriding into a test-based selection process?
That's where Lee and Annie's stories start. An aristocrat in hiding and a former serf who meet in the orphanage, test side by side into their new regime's dragonriding program, and have to decide if they really can leave the past behind them--and if the new regime really is better than what came before. "