Dragons. Back when I was a kid, dragons were everywhere and it fatigued me. I didn’t get the obsession with dragons back then. Now, with Game of Thrones, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, and Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I can feel the flutter of dragon wings across the pages of my books.mothering dragons in
Fireborne definitely brings a unique perspective to the dragon story creating a world who’s class system is determined by your closeness to them. Let’s start with the setting.
This is a world that has had a long lineage of people who tamed dragons. From there, they created a monarchy where those aligned with the dragons were the supreme rulers. The rest of the caste system obviously doesn’t benefit from what the dragon people have, so they all struggled and suffered. That is, until the revolution happened. The revolution, led by Atreus, helped eradicate the old caste system, remove the monarchy, and created a process where you can test for your class position. Of course, the classes still existed but depending on your skills and intelligence, you can move on up.
This system also created Guardians, average people who can test to protect Callipoli’s citizens. The power to keep a dragon is moved from the ruling class to basically, it’s police force. And that is where we find our main characters, Lee and Annie, as they test to see if they can be the best guardian, The First Protector; who will oversee Callipoli when Atreus steps down as its leader.
Lee is a young guardian with a mysterious past. While no one knows much about him other than the time he spent at an orphanage, he’s determined to be First Protector. Annie is also a young guardian who lost her family before the revolution. Growing up in the same orphanage with Lee, she was timid about everything including her training to become a guardian. But they helped each other overcome their hardships and made it to the semi-finals for First Protector. However, when Lee’s secret is revealed to the reader, you also realize that it’s a secret Annie’s been protecting too. Lee is a member of the royal family said to have died during the revolution along with the rest of his family.
But after years of hiding in captivity, Lee is so close to First Protector; a position that would have been bestowed on him if his family wasn’t slain. He’s also doing his best to cover his true identity while Annie struggles to prove herself. When word arrives that survivors of the revolution are looking to get their revenge and return the throne to Callipoli, Lee and Annie start to work in opposing position. Will Lee return to his kingdom? Will Annie report him before he does? What will happen to their friendship and what will happen to the people of Callipoli?
I really loved the way Rosaria Munda approached the dragon story. Instead of it being a bonding story between a dragon and its keeper, it’s more about the politics of this little country. It’s about how one form of government can mean freedom and peace, but really looks like the same as everything else. I really loved here that she started with a world who’s recovering from the monarchy. I love that you travel to the different cities within this world and see how it affects its citizens. I love how it changes a few things, but there are other things that never change at all.
Lee and Annie were also very interesting characters. While Lee felt a little bit stronger in this story than Annie did, you can see how Lee struggles between knowing who he is and assimilating to the world that exists. It’s obvious he wants to continue holding up the traditions of his family, but at the same time knows that his strength can benefit the current regime.
Annie is completely the opposite, but I absolutely love her growth in just this first book alone. She starts off as this timid person who barely speaks up in class to turning into the guardian people need her to be. It was really nice to see this, but I really wish she had more involvement in the bigger story.
I was also a huge fan of the dragons! The dragons here had their own personalities and that was really well shown. I love that there was a deeper connection between the dragon and the rider which made it kind of interesting to see how battles and duels played out. I hope that there’s more dragon stuff in the rest of the series.
Something I wasn’t a huge fan of was the writing style. For all intents and purposes, it reads comfortably, but there were a few paragraphs that were a little overdone with the language or description. There were a few repetitive lines and info, but nothing too bad. It was something that made me pause and focus on the words than on the story, which isn’t my favorite feeling in the world.
But aside from that, this was a super action-packed first novel. The world is really well built and the characters are already showing signs of their personality throughout the story. Really solid start to a great fantasy series!
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Teen for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions have not been influenced by the publisher or the author.