Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on March 23, 2021
Series: The Aurelian Cycle #2
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Also in this series: Fireborne
Revolutionary flames ignite around Annie, Lee, and a brand new POV character in the second book of the Fireborne trilogy.
After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the Dragonlords are eager to punish their usurpers--and reclaim their city. Their first order of business was destroying the Callipolan food supply. Now they're coming for the Dragonriders.
Annie is Callipolis's new Firstrider, and while her goal has always been to protect the people, being the government's enforcer has turned her into public enemy number one.
Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin to prove himself to a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians . . . or join the radicals who look to topple the new regime.
Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia, the Firstrider who had protected him, is dead, he is called on to sacrifice everything for the lords that oppress his people--or to forge a new path with the Callipolan Firstrider seeking his help.
With famine tearing Callipolis apart and the Pythians determined to take back what they lost, it will be up to Annie, Lee, and Griff to decide what to fight for--and who to love.
Please Note: This is the second book in a series that needs to be read in order. If you are new to the series, you can check out my review of book one, Fireborne HERE
Flamefall is the second book in the young adult fantasy series, called The Aurelian Cycle by author Rosaria Munda. I have fallen in love with this series so hard! I am completely enraptured by this world, their political problems and the plot. It is all pure magic. To say I am impressed by Rosaria Munda’s writing and storytelling ability and world building is the understatement of the century. If you are a fan of politically driven fantasy worlds, then the Aurelian Cycle is a must read series. It is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and I don’t feel like it gets nearly the attention and acclaim it deserves. I want more people to read this series so they can become obsessed with it like I am. Flamefall is one of the best books I have read in 2021. I think I might have loved it even more than the first book, which is no easy feat!
In Flamefall, we join our main characters just days after the crazy events of Fireborne. Where Lee has just done something super hard, and now this post-revolution fantasy world is edging closer and closer to full blown war. In case you need a quick reminder of the world setup in the Aurelian Cycle- this political landscape is a world overthrown by a revolution, where the old regime has been cast out and a new merit-based regime has taken its’ place. The old regime was referred to as a triarchy, where three royal families ruled together and passed down leadership through their bloodlines. The royal families, or dragonlords, were the riders of dragons, which served as the kingdom’s aerial defense. Under the new regime, royal titles are thrown out and a merit based class system has taken it’s place. Here anyone, no matter their birth right, can test into a higher class and a better lifestyle. Children all go to school and all take a merit test early on which will determine their job sector and their lifestyle.
But now that the world is at war again, the new regime is facing it’s first famine, and the inner struggles bring a whole new wave of political unrest and problems. I said it before in my first review, and I will say it again here with Flamefall- Rosaria Munda is a master at weaving a devastatingly complex political landscape. I am in awe over how nuanced and multifaceted all of the issues are. Nothing is black and white- not even the good guys vs. the bad guys. Everything in this series lives in the much more interesting shades of grey. Watching the characters delve into the nuances of the old regime vs. the new regime was so fascinating. Not to mention the conflicts that each of the characters face. All of the characters face hard decisions, and their relationships with one another are also so complex. I find everything about this book fascinating and compelling. Rosaria Munda has created a world that has taken up permanent residence in my head. I can’t stop thinking about Callipolis and New Pythos.
In Flamefall we get to see a glimpse in the other side of the war. We journey to New Pythos, where we meet a new character, Griff. Flamefall is told in multiple points of view, including Annie, Lee and now Griff as they each navigate the harsh realities of war and making very complicated decisions that come with being pivotal players in said war. I really enjoyed Griff. He is a lowborn dragon rider for New Pythos, but they treat lowborns very differently than Callipolis does. New Pythos felt very much like a traditional throw back to the old regime and it was a political structure that I commonly see in fantasy worlds. I still really love Lee as a character. I liked Annie as well, but there were certainly times I was disappointed in her. She has her own set of internal struggles and difficulties paid out before her, but sometimes I just wish she made different choices. Overall, I was really happy with her progress as a character but Lee carved out a special place in my heart in a way that Annie has not managed to do yet. That being said, I am so invested in all of their stories that I am desperate to get my hands on book 3. Flamefall totally destroyed me, and I need to know what is going to happen next. This book was super emotional for me because I was so invested in the story. Rosaria Munda has created a series that will always hold a very special place in my heart. I love these books so much.
The Aurelian Cycle is a brilliant series. Rosaria Munda has created a fascinatingly complex world with really layered and nuanced politics. This novel was so thought provoking and such a compelling read that the more I read of it, the less I was able to put it down. She transported me directly into the minds of these characters. I felt every struggle right alongside them, and I loved every second of this journey. If you have not yet read this series, you need to! It is a masterpiece of young adult fantasy. One of the best fantasy series I have ever read!