REVIEW: ‘Flamefall’ by Rosaria Munda takes the dragon-riding adventure to new heights

 

The sequel to ‘Fireborne’ soars! With a growing world and a thickening plot, it will leave you craving more.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Picking up right where the first book left off, Annie and Lee find themselves forced to take sides in an increasingly complicated battle for control. The questions become even murkier when a new group of dragon-riders rise up to oppose them. Is there ever truly a moral path to power?

From the Blurb:

After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the dragonlords are eager to punish their Callipolan 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, charged with leading the war against New Pythos. But with unrest at home, enforcing the government’s rationing program risks turning her into public enemy number one.

Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin for a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians…or join the rebels who look to topple the new regime.

Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia Stormscourge is no longer there to protect him, 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.

I really liked Fireborne, so I had pretty high hopes for this sequel. However, even with that, I did not expect to love this book as much as I did.

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I think the best compliment you can give a second book is that you can read it without having to reread the first. There were just enough plot reminders, without it being too heavy handed. If you read Fireborne a while ago, feel free to jump right into Flamefall.

I was glad to see that the POV continued to be split between Lee and Annie. Their differences in both perspective and experience gives you a full sense of the story. Not only do you feel like you have an inside look for every important moment, but you have the opportunity to hear each one rationalize their choices.

This is vital in a story where there is no black and white, good vs. evil, but rather a much more honest and human look at what people do when they are forced to choose between terrible options. Even better, these young adults are given the space to act like young adults, making mistakes and jumping to conclusions without recognizing all the facts. They mess up, but they are both trying to do good, which is a grounding force in this fantastical world.

Along with Annie and Lee, we also get to view the story through the eyes of Griff. As a serf in a much more tyrannical society, his point of view provides us with a look at what true evil is capable of and what the ultimate threat just might be. However, he has a strong voice of his own that immediately endears him to the reader and makes you want to root for him even in the most heart-breaking moments.

Through Griff, we get to meet a brand new cast of characters from the adversarial New Pythios. Just a figment on the horizon in Fireborne, these seemingly villainous characters help to fill out this world and build the stakes. Among them is Delo, whose relationship with Griff is both romantic and tragic in equal measure. Nothing in this world comes without complicated ramifications, and that is exactly what makes it so much fun to dive into.

The story spins and weaves quickly, and you never know what is coming next. However, each twist feels earned in a way that can be difficult to achieve with such a sprawling world. This book will shock you right up until the very last page in the absolute best way.

Oh, and the dragons. You can’t forget the dragons. In Fireborne we mainly saw training and single combat, but now we finally get to see the true power and military might of these weapons. Strategic and imaginative, the fight scenes of Flamefall will have you flipping page after page to see who makes it out alive.

This book expertly asks some big questions. How do we perceive our leaders? What do we blame them for and how much can they actually control? How dangerous can power become when it is allowed to grow unchecked? You’ll find yourself agreeing with one character one minute and then vehemently disagreeing the next.

But that is the beauty and truth hidden within these pages. These questions never have simple answers, but it is necessary for us to keep asking them anyway. And now, my biggest question is, how will this all end?

Listen to our podcast interview with Rosaria Munda here!

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Chelsea still can't believe that she lives in NYC and works to make movies happen. You can find her checking out way too many books from the library or getting lost in an audio book on a long walk.

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