One of the most anticipated sequels in children’s fiction does not disappoint as Aisling Fowler delivers another edge-of-the-seat, heart-pounding, emotion-filled, epic fantasy adventure. Events in the second story pick up three months after the devastating happenings at the Hunting Lodge so if you haven’t read Fireborn: Twelve and the Frozen Forest then do that first. Twelve, now Phoenix, and hunters Five, Seven and Six are dealing with the fall out and rebuilding their lives and find themselves thrust into a dangerous new quest when the witches come calling.
For years, the witches of Icegaard have worked their magic to keep the Shadowseam and its dark magic trapped in an oculus. Lately, the magic forces have grown stronger becoming harder to contain. The witches need help and Phoenix is their answer.
Asked to assist, Phoenix and her fellow hunters travel North where the future of their world and existence hangs in the balance. Should the Shadowseam escape its prison, the witches’ ice-palace will fall and all of the clans of Ember too.
With time ever-pressing, Phoenix needs to master her power in preparation for her biggest battle yet. But as the fight looms, the faceless Croke inhibits her dreams. Facing up to mounting challenges, Phoenix need to summon every ounce of power she has. But even then, that may not be enough to save Ember from disaster…
Some authors are must-reads within their genre and the irrepressible Aisling Fowler is the must-read author for middle-grade fantasy adventures. She will take your breath away, have you laughing-out-loud, hiding under the covers and then wiping away the tears all in the matter of a handful of pages. She is at the peak of her writing powers, a remarkable feat considering this is only her second book.
The Fireborn series continues at pace with higher stakes, new monsters, darker forces, mightier challenges, dangerous magic and the uniting bonds of friendship all awaiting Phoenix and friends. Intense and gripping, packed with twists, turns and surprising revelations, and never far away from delivering an emotional punch when least expected, it has everything I wanted and more from the second instalment.
Scintillating storytelling, pulse-racing and emotional scenes, rich, immersive and atmospheric world building and well-developed characters make for a breathtaking and magical adventure that is as imaginative and as captivating as they come. Never have I been so invested in a fantasy series; I was with Phoenix every axe-swinging, fire-summoning step of the way and may have even had the odd worrying nightmare about the Croke.
There is no shortage of axe-wielding action and the introduction of a group of young witches - special shout out to Zenith who is awesome - add further magic and fuel to a plot that that simmers with hope and despair, light and dark, fire and ice.
Better than the first, quite possibly yes. Unmissable…absolutely. I cannot believe we have to wait another twelve months (at a guess) for the final instalment, especially after that ending. Aisling, you did not just end it there!
Recommended for 9+.
With huge thanks to Harper Collins and an extra special thank you to Tina Mories for the early proof copy I received in exchange for an honest review.