Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle #2) by Rosaria Munda

After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the Dragonlords are eager to punish their 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, and while her goal has always been to protect the people, being the government’s enforcer has turned her into public enemy number one.
Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin to prove himself to a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians . . . or join the radicals who look to topple the new regime.
Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia, the Firstrider who had protected him, is dead, 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.

Fantasy, 496 pages, published in 2021

After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the Dragonlords are eager to punish their 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, and while her goal has always been to protect the people, being the government’s enforcer has turned her into public enemy number one.
Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin to prove himself to a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians . . . or join the radicals who look to topple the new regime.
Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia, the Firstrider who had protected him, is dead, 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.
[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: bullying/abuse, death, mentions of torture, mentions of a sexual relationship with questionable consent

I’m going to try to make it through this review without screaming about how much I love this series…but oh man, do I love this series!

This book picks up right were the first one left off and it did also have a pretty good recap of previous events woven in. I shouldn’t have expected any differently, but right off the bat, the characters are thrown into impossible situations once again.

There was a new POV added, which I can be pretty hesitant about in general, but the new character, Griff, added so much to this story. He is a peasant dragon rider under what is left of the old regime and everything about his story broke my heart.

I think contrasting his view on the old regime side by side with Annie and Lee’s perspective of the new regime was very interesting. The first book poses the question of if the new regime really is better than the old, so this comparison helped make that dilemma even more clear.

The politics in this book were so interesting! All the different dynamics, from food rations to what influence someone’s past has on their current standing, was just so interesting. I’ve never thought that I like political fantasy, but if this is what political fantasy can be, I’m in.

I was so emotional throughout this whole book! There are so many things that happen that are absolutely heart-wrenching and the ending also had a big impact. To say I’m excited for book 3 is a total understatement! I would sell my soul to get the next book now. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far.

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Fireborne (The Aurelain Cycle #1) by Rosaria Munda

After the ruling family is killed for their crimes, one child remains hidden. In the new government that has been created, any mentions of the previous way of life must be discouraged, so Lee must fight to keep his past hidden, even when the actions of his family have hurt the lives of the people he now cares the most about.

Fantasy, 448 pages, published in 2019

After the ruling family is killed for their crimes, one child remains hidden. In the new government that has been created, any mentions of the previous way of life must be discouraged, so Lee must fight to keep his past hidden, even when the actions of his family have hurt the lives of the people he now cares the most about.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: death of family, murder, violence, childhood trauma

I was fully expecting to enjoy this book, but it absolutely blew me away! I don’t feel like I’ve ever read another book like this one.

This book is very character-driven in my opinion. We follow Lee, the son of the previous ruler who has to protect his identity, and Annie, whose family was killed by the previous ruler. They are training together in a dragonrider fleet and fighting for the top positions.

The relationship between Lee and Annie was one of the most interesting, complex relationships I’ve read about. Not only do their pasts complicate things, but their present situations do as well, added in with their strong bond formed over many years. Whenever one of them had to make a decision, I could just feel all of the emotions tied to what choices they made.

The world was also so well created. The dragons are really the only magical element of this book, which normally isn’t my favorite, but I think it was so well done. The politics of this world and the clash of the old regime versus the new regime was so interesting. Normally, this heavy political stuff isn’t my favorite either, but I just thought it was so well done. It was complex, but still simple enough for me to understand.

There are some flashbacks in this book, but they were very well done. They were short and not too often, and always related to what was happening in the present.

This book is YA, and I was hesitant because I’ve been feeling some feelings about YA fantasy recently, but it doesn’t feel like it at all.

I just freaking loved this book. I ended up listening to the audiobook and I put everything else aside so that I could just sit and listen to it. I think I started it at 10PM one night and finished it the next afternoon.

Anyway, I am very much anticipating the sequel! I keep seeing the audiobook in my library and I am tempted to listen to it again, but I will have to resist until the sequel is published in March.

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