Welcome to my Fireborn by Aisling Fowler review, part of The Write Reads blog tour. My thanks to Dave at the Write Reads and to Harper Collins for my proof copy in exchange for an honest review. Fireborn is Aisling Fowler’s debut novel, it will be published on 30th September in hardback.
My Fireborn by Aisling Fowler review
This is one of my favourite books this year! It has everything you could want from a middle grade fantasy.
The story opens with a training class at the Hunting Lodge, the students ‘huntlings’ have made a pledge to give up their past (identities, bonds, feuds etc) and serve the Lodge as Hunters. They have a number instead of a name. The protagonist Twelve is a whizz with axes, but no one wants to be her training partner. She’s a loner who is thought of as aloof and weird. Her pet squirrel Widge was a gift from Seven, who lacks any useful weapons skill but tries to be nice to Twelve. Not that Twelve wants anyone to be nice to her, she isn’t there to make friends.
During the training session she has (another) spat with Five and the pair of them get hauled off to Elder Silver’s office by their teacher Victory. Sent to the dungeons to reflect on their behaviour as punishment, all hell breaks loose when goblins invade the Hunting Lodge. It transpires that Seven has been taken and whilst the Council argue about who should form the rescue party, Twelve decides action is needed now.
The world of Ember is set in simpler times where inhabitants form clans and survive on farming and mining. It is a magical place with good and evil creatures, some with realistic nuanced shades of grey to their personalities. The world building is wonderfully immersive from the Hunting Lodge to the Frozen Forest, from Poa village to the Fang Mountains. The Hunters act as peacekeepers and protectors of the Clans. Over the course of the adventures in Ember we learn more about the characters and their motivation for becoming huntlings.
Fireborn has everything a reader could want in a middle grade fantasy. There are strong characters which readers can identify with, an exciting plot packed with adventure, danger and moments of humour, and a wonderfully immersive fantasy world that is rich in magic and monsters.
Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.
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.
About the Author
“Aisling 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.” Twitter: @fowler_aisling Instagram: @aislingfowler