Thank you so much to the publishers and The Write Reads for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Twelve has spoken the Pledge and now she is a Huntling. She has given up her name to train in the art of fighting monsters and keeping the peace, and she won’t get to choose a new one until she has earned it.
But when the Lodge’s walls are breached for the first time, and a little girl is taken, Twelve is the only one interested in going after a child . . .
Teaming up with Dog, the Stone Guardian of the Lodge, Twelve ends up on an epic adventure that will change her life, her name – and her entire world.
Normally, I can be found reading a YA contemporary book but sometimes I give new things a try. I did just this with Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest by Aisling Fowler which is a middle grade fantasy. As someone who is scared of YA fantasy and fantasy in general, I felt that a MG fantasy was a great place to start! It was exactly that, I loved this book and how much fun it was to read.
Fireborn is a fast-paced, fun and thrilling adventure in which we follow Twelve, who has given up her life to the Hunting Lodge which is where people train to become hunters. The job of the Hunters is to rid the world of a myriad of monsters that inhabit the world. But, when the Hunting Lodge is attacked and one of Twelve’s friends is taken, she goes on an heroic quest to find her.
I adored the main character of Fireborn, Twelve! She is so brave and determined and I’m sure will inspire so many children who read this book. We see her give up almost everything to become a hunter. Twelve shows so much loyalty and determination for the quest she in undertaking and remains strong throughout. We get to see Twelve grown throughout the book and see that she does not give up. She is inspirational.
I enjoyed the side characters in this book as well. Each of them is unique, brings their own things to the story and are all well-rounded. I loved the unusual group of travel companions and how much they add to the plot. I have a couple of favourites though. Widge, who is Twelve’s little squirrel friend. Widge is so cute and intuitive and such a good travel companion. Also, Dog who is so unique and quite funny at times! Also, Five and Six are wonderful! Even if they don’t get on with Twelve it is so lovely to see a group of people work together to a shared goal even if they have differences. This book has some excellent messages about teamwork, helping others and forgiveness and it is often shown through the group of travel companions.
One of the things I struggle with when it comes to fantasy books is the world-building and getting used to a new world. The world-building in this book so wonderful and I had no issues at all understanding it. It feels like the world is jumping right out at you and is so dark and mysterious that I felt like I was right in the world with the characters. It really helped to have A Magical Bestiary in the pages of the book which gave important information about each creature that Twelve faces along her journey and it is all provided in an easy-to-understand way. I do feel as though this book should be marketed towards the older end of middle grade due to its themes and the storyline in general but I feel that age-range will adore this book.
Talking about themes in this book, we see friendship, found families, bullying, overcoming issues, dealing with grief and a whole lot more weaving throughout the story. They add so much to the story but more importantly to the plot and character development. They are themes that I think will resonate heavily with middle grade readers.
Overall, Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest is an adventurous and thoroughly exciting quest that so many people are going to enjoy going on. I look forward to seeing future books in what will be an excellent series! I highly recommend this one!
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