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.
First of all, a huge thank you to the publisher and The Write Reads for my spot on the blog tour, and for my beautiful proof copy! I don’t read as much MG fiction as I should, but when I do (almost always persuaded by Dave at The Write Reads!), the writer in me learns so much about plot, and the reader in me loves being swept along in the adventure.
Fireborn is a cracking read. From the first pages, I was completely drawn into Twelve’s world, intrigued by the mystery of how she ended up at the Lodge and the role of the Hunters and the trainee Huntlings. There’s a kind of Spartan ferocity to the training sessions, and the anonymity provided by giving the students numbers instead of names adds to the sense of mystery and of the enforced end of childhood. But there are sweet, funny touches, too – Widge the squirrel is just a delight as Twelve’s constant companion, and even the verbal sparring between Twelve and the hateful Five is done with wry observational accuracy of how kids insult each other.
The action gets going nice and quickly, and it carries the reader along at the perfect pace, introducing new characters often enough to keep things fresh, but allowing time for each character to have their moment to shine. Fowler strikes a lovely balance between familiar fantastical elements that allow the reader to easily and quickly feel immersed in the world that she creates, and weaving those elements together in ways that feel new and exciting. I really want to list my favourite creatures, but as always, part of the joy is discovering them for yourself as you read, so I shall keep quiet!
There’s plenty of drama here, and quite a few twists that I didn’t see coming, but there are also tender moments, points where many of the characters show their flaws and vulnerabilities, and these deepen the emotional resonance of the more cinematic scenes. The setting is eerie and beautiful and sinister all at once – atmospheric and tautly described in Fowler’s sharp, impactful prose. The flashback scenes are really powerful and moving, and not always what you might expect. I think that’s a real strength of this book, actually – even when you think you know how a character might react or what their backstory may be, the author has a way of surprising you and making you reflect and reconsider.
There is so much great, subtle world-building here. There’s a real sense of the history and mythology of Ember bubbling away beneath the surface, and although at times my geeky side wanted to know much more than is revealed in this first book, I know that there will be plenty more to come from this series, so I will wait (im)patiently for the next instalment! I highly recommend this to MG fans, or to anyone who wants to read a damn good story!
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). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.
Fireborn by Aisling Fowler will be published by HarperCollins on 30th September 2021 and is available to preorder here.