Book Review: Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda

About the Book:

Title: Fireborne

Author: Rosaria Munda

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 15th 2019

Genres: YA Fantasy

Pages: 448

Rating: 5/5

ISBN: 0525518215 (ISBN13: 9780525518211)





Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.


I would like to thank Penguin Random House International for providing a review copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.


Fireborne by Rosaria Munda is a riveting novel full of dragons and political intrigues, revolution, slow-burn romance, and centers two individuals of different backgrounds who face heart-wrenching decisions to either save or let the new regime born in blood fall.

Power did not correspond to worth.

Told in a dual perspective, the story started nine years after a bloodthirsty revolution, where the Dragonborn families, the triarchy or royalties, were taken down on their throne. Now, everyone in Callipolis receives education, and they receive resources more fairly compared to the last governance. People are selected on the basis of their ability despite where they came from. Lee and Annie are dragonriders-in-training, and they are competing to become the Firstrider. Growing up in the same orphanage, Lee and Annie develop a strong friendship and loyalty to each other.

Vengeance and birthright.

A new war is brewing when Callipolis receives news that the survivor of the Dragonborn families have been building their own army of dragons and are determined to take back what had been theirs. Would Lee betrayed the new regime to join and exact retribution for the deaths of his own family, even when he believes that the new regime is better? Should Annie protect Lee’s past even when it meant risking her future?  “If losses are inevitable, where would it be better for them to occur?”

It is impossible to put this book down. The plot is fast-paced. Although this novel has some similarities to other fantasy novels, there are unique elements and qualities that made this book shine. This book will not only make you think, but it will also test your sense of morality and make you feel such conflicting emotions. The cost of leadership, the weight of decision making, and choosing what the less evil are discussed in this book as well. I love how consistent the world-building is. I really like how the dragons are not just for “decorations.” They are smart creatures, companions, and also a weapon of destruction and war. Also, the characters are all complex, interesting and well-developed. I really like Lee and Annie’s chemistry, even when sometimes they both frustrate me.

Overall, Fireborne is an exciting novel, and one of the best debuts I read this year. I cannot wait for the next book, and I highly recommend this book!

5 stars!


Rosaria grew up in rural North Carolina, where she climbed trees, read Harry Potter fanfiction, and taught herself Latin. She studied political theory at Princeton and lives in Chicago with her husband and cat.

For book recs and updates, follow her on instagram: @rosariamunda

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