A Reader’s Response to Aisling Fowler’s “Fireborn Twelve and the Frozen Forest” #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour


Summary I got from Goodreads:

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.

Reading a decent number of fantasy novels and seeing a couple more movies have perhaps dulled me of the excitement for this novel.

Author’s Bio from her website:

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).

“I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story.”

C.S. Lewis, On Three Ways of Writing for Children

This quote lays a good foundation for my perspective in reviewing Fireborn.

Initial Impressions:

Twelve is a very angry Hermione, having the time to read while chasing some goblins, Six a docile Harry Potter, and Five a combination of Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy. Victory is a female version of Mad-eye Moody (or Barty Crouch, I’m pretty sure you know what mean).

What I like about the book:

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The Protagonist. Aside from Twelve’s remarkable similarities to a fighting Hermione, she is also Inside Out’s Anger personified (Is personified the right word here as she’s not a real person? She’s real in my head though, so moving on…). The fire inside her (catch this Easter egg everyone) stirs her mood. She is an incredibly talented hunter-to-be and independent, relying on her own skills and decisions which admittedly aren’t the wisest. Another unique thing about Twelve is her preference for weapons. One would normally assume a female character to carry a staff or a bow and arrow- stereotypes, I know. Twelve carries axes, choosing melee attacks rather than long range. I only know a few fictional characters who exhibit a similar preference.

Usually in hero novels and animations, a protagonist starts as a weakling then discovers strength during his or her adventures. The drastic the development, the better. But who says only the weak get strong? Strong characters can get even stronger, too (my personal biases are leaking all over the place). This is what we see in Twelve’s development in the novel. Her imperfection, background story and her fire are endearing.

Fantastic Beasts Mythical Creatures. That a stone guardian, Dog, could talk and be hot-headed and impatient is ingenious. In many fantasy stories, guardians are represented by mythical creatures like dragons, phoenixes, unicorns or polar bears. While reading the novel I couldn’t help but think of Hachiko’s and Balto’s statues coming to life.

I highly enjoyed the parts when the group goes into the Frozen Forest and meets various creatures. Their adventure with a trapped moxie, a deathspinner, and Oakhammer reminded me of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings a bit.

i'd like to hear from alex on this

World-building. As a gamer who is into Genshin Impact, I believe that only a very small portion of Ember’s map has been unlocked in the first novel. I have yet to see how big the world is, understand the connection among the different creatures and groups of people in Ember, and witness Twelve’s role in this lore.

What I don’t like about it:

The constant bickering of the characters running for several pages and chapters can be a bit tiring especially when they’d make up and unite in the end for a common goal. This might seem like a small deal since conflicts are what make a novel a page-turner but some of the arguments seem petty, repetitive, and distracting. Perhaps in the next book(s), Twelve would not be angry as often.

My Thoughts on Fireborn

Having read a decent number of fantasy novels and seen a couple more movies perhaps dulled me of the excitement for this novel. I can’t deny that there were times I caught myself ruining the experience of reading by comparing it to its predecessors- the blurb is partly to blame lol. The good points of the novel far outweigh the negative ones. There are some elements that spark that interest in me to keep wondering what happens next. How will Twelve unlock her full potential? Will Six finally confess? Will they meet the moxie again? Is Widge a mythical creature after all? With that said, I have very high expectations for the next installment.

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