THE AURELIAN CYCLE Book 1: Fireborne
To be transparent, when I found this series, (it is 3 books I have finished the first 2) I was still looking for a Fourth Wing substitute. And initially, the book starts off a little bit slow, and might seem a bit more for a younger audience. So I was a bit put off, but decided that I was enjoying the actual writing and would keep going.
In the beginning, we meet Annie and Lee, and a dorm full of young Dragon riders, who have been trained as the elite fighting force for a country that went through a very bloody revolution. Initially, the country was claimed by dragonlords who were brutal, heartbreakingly so. They were a group of people who believed their dragon-might meant they could own other people, and treated them with scant disregard.
I will not give away how they were overthrown, but we join the story after they were removed and the new regime is plotting the way forward, which is supposed to be a fairer and less damaging life for all the citizens.
Which is why we have these young people who come from various walks of life riding dragons instead of only the elite families from before. The funny thing about revolutions, though, and the people who lead after them, is that just maybe they do not get everything right. Sometimes, in fact, they get it so wrong, they might even mirror those they once overthrew.
And that is the center on which this story builds, expands, and sucks you in, until you are stealing minutes and telling yourself you can get a chapter in before you really need to go eat lunch.
There are two POVs, Annie’s and Lee’s. They both have secrets, and they both have grown up as orphans for contrasting reasons since the revolution. And those reasons, together with their friendship and its cost… cut deep.
What I loved about this opening book was the fact that we saw the aftermath of the revolution. And at first all seems well, before the cracks really start to show. Usually, books put us in the middle of the oppressive regime and we walk towards the revolution, which is the triumphant end of a series. These three books answer the question, “Well, what happens after we take over?” The ideas, plans, and most importantly implementation of the new way of life is never what we quite expect. Leading to some juicy political intrigue and shattered ideals.
Which all makes you fight sleep to finish just one more chapter, when you should not be awake.
If you love dragons, political wrangling, and hard questions being asked, mixed in with personal dilemmas, this is a series to pick up. I am about to start book 3…. but the way book 2 dealt with me; I am trying to brace, because I know it will be an insane ride. (Yes, that review is coming soon, probably now lol!)