“Bree and Kael Skyborn have seen their island invaded, their Seraphim disbanded, and their royal family imprisoned.
A rebellion grows from the ashes, demanding Bree to be their Phoenix, their symbol against Center’s tyranny, and for Kael to find the doomsday prophet Johan and sway his cult to their side.
Should they fail, the hope of their rebellion fails with them. ”
Fireborn by David Dalglish presents an action-packed and deeper sequel that more than lives up to the first novel, Skyborn. While the first half is fairly predictable and a bit slow, the second half is fantastic, moving at a frenetic pace that goes deeper into the history of the islands and the elements.
Breanna and Kael were, I felt, serviceable main characters in the first novel, they were much more fleshed out in the sequel. Breanna’s struggle between protecting her family or assuming the resistance’s mantle as their symbol was nice to see, but I felt it should have been more developed. While fleshed out a bit more, Breanna still feels like a one-note character, the female badass serving as the resistance’s symbol. Kael undergoes a much better character arc compared to the first novel. He was a bit whiny and weak in the previous entry, but by the second half of this novel, he becomes a much stronger character and a lot more likeable. The novel definitely seems to focus more on Kael which created some much needed character development. Unfortunately, some of the returning supporting characters such as Clara and Saul are pushed to the background. Saul, who was one of the better characters from the first novel, is barely in this book and as a result, he is given very little character development. Clara still feels as if she is only there as Kael’s love interest or when the plot needs her to be. However, Johan is an absolutely fantastic character. The ambiguity of this character often causes the reader to question which side he really is on and helps set up what seems to be an even more action-packed finale.
As with Skyborn, the world is the star of this novel. Dalglish really gets into the history of the islands and fleshes out the lore. It helps differentiate the novel from the other fantasy/YA novels. Fireborn is more of a fantasy novel than it is a YA novel which Skyborn was more of. The more fantasy-like focus helps, as I said before, flesh out the world. Now, the first half of the novel is fairly generic and predictable in terms of plot. It’s the standard time to fight back plot that many YA novels use and to add to that, there really was not a long going on. There were some awesome fights, but it felt as if the plot was barely moving. However, the second half of the novel moves at a much more frenetic pace with the addition of Johan and the novel really starts to shine. The plot also becomes a lot more intriguing and introduces some nice twists that sets up the finale while also fleshing out the world. It is extremely action-packed with battles happening almost all of the time, but there are some nice quiet moments that help develop the twins and serve as a breather. The battles are once again a highlight of the novel. It’s visceral, brutal, and, above all, exciting. Dalglish really knows how to write action scenes and one on one duels.
While Skyborn was a fun and exciting novel, Fireborn is a much more refined and mature novel that surpasses the first entry. Kael and Breanna get some much needed character development that makes it much easier to get attached to them. While some supporting characters are pushed to the background, the addition of Johan adds some ambiguity and unpredictableness that livens up the plot and sets up the finale. To top it off, Dalglish gets deeper into the lore of the islands and continues to amaze with the fight scenes. All in all, Fireborn serves as an excellent sequel to Skyborn.
Rating: Must Buy