About the Book
Author: Gillian Bronte Adams
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Release date: December 7, 2021
She rides a fireborn, a steed of fire and ash, trained for destruction. Ceridwen tal Desmond dreams of ruling like her father over the nation of Soldonia, where warriors ride to battle on magical steeds—soaring on storm winds, vanishing in shadow, quaking the earth, and summoning the sea. After a tragic accident claims her twin brother, she is exiled and sworn to atonement by spending her life—or death—for her people. But when invaders spill onto Soldonia’s shores and traitors seize upon the chaos to murder her father, Ceridwen claims the crown to keep the nation from splintering. Combatting overwhelming odds and looming civil war, she begins to wonder if the greatest threat to the kingdom may, in fact, be her. With fire before her and ash in her wake, how can she hope to unite instead of destroy?
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This is an epic fantasy novel for readers who like plenty of battle scenes resulting in lots of bodies. The battle scenes are well described but I have to admit I started skimming through them after a while. The novel is not all battles, however, as the heroine, Ceridwen, is on a quest to prove her worth. I would have liked a deeper look at her character and her pursuit. She seemed all action and I had difficulty identifying with the character.
The novel is plotted out so that we follow a number of people, each chapter centering on one person. At first, they seemed unrelated but in the end their stories do come together. I did find going from Rafi to Ceridwen to Jakim repeatedly made the narrative flow a bit fragmented.
This is a good action adventure for young readers. It has the battle against evil, magical creatures, interesting characters, and a worthy quest. There are so many battles and good descriptions, like a head being cut off, I would think this fantasy would be better suited for older teen readers as escape literature.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
About the Author
More from Gillian
I still vividly remember the moment, years ago, that the idea for this book came to me. It was the end of July, sometime between ten and eleven at night, and the insects outside were buzzing so loudly you could hear them through the window of the back room of the camp office where I sat. Slumped exhaustedly in a chair, shivering in the air conditioning in my sweat-soaked jeans and a t-shirt, I was waiting for the other summer staff to arrive so we could start and finish our planning meeting and stumble off to our cabins to sleep.
Even then, writing felt like breathing to me, so to pass the time and keep myself awake, I drew a ragged notebook out of my backpack and started scribbling sparks and specks of story ideas, barely noticing how my arm left smears of dirt on the page. It was my third or fourth summer as Head Wrangler, which meant I spent my days either on horseback or jogging alongside kids who were learning to ride. Dirt was just a part of life.
So many details of that night remain fresh in my mind, it’s odd that I can’t remember exactly what sparked the idea itself—the wide-eyed grin of a boy on his very first ride, the budding confidence in a girl as she raced around the barrels, or the cumulation of all the hours I’d spent atop my own wild thing, clearing wooded trails with a machete, leaping across creeks because he refused to simply wade, and performing amateur stunts for the occasional skit.
Whatever lit the fuse, as soon as I scribbled the first set of words on that crumpled notebook page, I knew I had struck gold. I felt it in my bated breath and leaping heartbeat. “Super-powered horses.” Or better yet, “Magical steeds.” Some that could breathe fire, some with hides like stone that could quake the earth with their hooves, some that rode upon the waves of the sea, and still others that could step into shadow and disappear without a trace.
Seven in all, they quickly cluttered the page, and I couldn’t wait for the chance to write the epic tale that could contain creatures like these. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a story yet. Just a page full of fanciful beasts and a head full of wild dreams. No characters. No plot. No premise. Or so I thought.
The meeting started then and I had to tuck my notebook away, but I couldn’t banish the magical horses now roaming in my head. Over the weeks and months that followed, I took them out and let them dance across the page every now and then, gradually fleshing out details, uncovering their secrets, and imagining their world. Yet the story itself remained elusive, until I finally, reluctantly, set them aside and turned my attention to other things. Months before that summer night, I had, in a fit of wild inspiration, outlined a new three book series starring a female warrior who longed to rule like her father before her. It was a bit daring and a lot daunting, but while I liked the characters and the concept, the world itself was lacking that flare of uniqueness, that touch of magic, that allows a fantasy realm to sprawl beyond the confines of the page and take root in the imagination of a reader.
Reading the outline afresh, I lamented that it was the sort of lusterless story doomed to die on a novelist’s hard drive, and perhaps my incredible magical horses with it, for though they were lustrous enough, without a story, they could never truly live. Without a story …
What if my aspiring queen lived in their world? What if she rode a fire-breathing steed? How might those beautiful magical creatures enhance and ultimately, shape her and her story?
Combining any two concepts can be dangerous, as you never know how they will interact until you try it. The resulting explosion shattered my outline and blasted apart my carefully formed plans, but when the dust settled and the heart of the new story emerged, I knew that this finally was an epic tale worthy of my magical steeds, and a world deep and dangerous enough to have forged my aspiring queen. It was, at last, Of Fire and Ash, the first book of The Fireborn Epic.
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I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)
Congratulations on your release of Of Fire & Ash, which sounds like a great fantasy adventure that my granddaughter and I can enjoy and the cover is great! Good luck with your book and the tour and thanks for sharing it with me! Thanks Avid Reader, for sharing your great review! Have a spectacular holiday season!
Thank You for the review.
My brother would like this book.
Thanks for the contest.
This sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful review!
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