Fireborn Review & Blog Tour*
I am delighted that it is time to share my review of Fireborn by Aisling Fowler as part of the @WriteReadsTours blog tour! The blurb for this middle grade fantasy novel promises an epic quest in a magical world. It is perfect for fans of Percy Jackson & Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.
*Please note that I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Aisling Fowler
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 30th September 2021
Age Range: Middle Grade (8-12 years)
Goodreads: Add me here!
‘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.’
Fireborn has all of the essential components of an epic adventure; a brilliant heroine, a well developed magical world and a cool cohort to adventure with. We start the story at The Lodge, a place where children go to train to be Hunters & protect the world from monsters. As a Huntling (trainee) you no longer use your given name, forgetting your clan and life before you joined. Our adventure begins when The Lodge is attacked & another student is kidnapped. Twelve is determined to bring them home.
The protagonist of the story is Twelve. She is not very popular with other trainees and possibly for good reason. Twelve isn’t at The Lodge to make friends, she has her own agenda and will not allow herself to forget it. She is quick-tempered, harsh but also brave, intelligent and very talented. A lot of her behaviour stems from the trauma in her past. I like that her character isn’t super likeable as it makes her more fun to read about. Plus, she can’t be all bad as she has a pet squirrel called Widge who is awesome!
There are a lot of great characters including the other Huntlings and Hunters. Dog is one of my favourite characters. He is the stone guardian of The Lodge and definitely my number one choice as backup on an epic quest. I love that this book has two animal companions that are so different.
The world building in Fireborn is fantastic. I love how the history of the world is established, especially the Clan wars and systems. The magic system setup is great as is the beast lore that Twelve accesses through her bestiary book. It feels like a very full and rich world, which contains a lot of darkness and danger. Perfect for an adventure.
We explore multiple settings and landscapes in the novel. Each are very vivid and although you experience a lot, you get the sense that you are scratching the surface of the vastness around you. One of my favourite elements is the traditional creepy, enchanted forest. It is a common feature in fantasy novel but, in this case, it is used really well!
Aisling Fowler’s writing is brilliant throughout. There are plenty of unpredictable twists throughout the story. The pacing is spot on. This is the kind of book that would be easy to devour in one sitting! One aspect of the writing that I particularly liked is how the author doesn’t shy away from difficult feelings and conflict. There are good reasons why individual characters feel the way they do and I think that their feelings are explored very well.
Fireborn is a truly addictive fantasy story, which I didn’t want to put down. It is an exceptional debut novel and I can’t wait to read Aisling Fowelr’s next adventure! If you like middle-grade fantasy then I highly recommend you pick up a copy as soon as possible.
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).