Fireborn by Toby Forward
Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 6
Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (December 3, 2013)
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars
About the Book:
If magic sets the world on fire, something new is born from the flames.
When an old, dying wizard steals magic from his young apprentice, Bee, he changes his own life and nearly destroys hers. But he also releases something new into the world – a wild magic that turns fields to flames and upsets the order of the world. It will take another apprentice, Cabbage, to find Bee and try to set the world right again.
Remarkable for its deft, dramatic prose and thrilling magical adventure, Toby Forward’s Dragonborn delighted critics and fans. This companion novel, set in the same world in a different time, is a breathtaking work of magic and suffering, friendship and transformation – and the new power that rises from the ashes of a terrible deed.
About the Author:
Toby Forward is the author of the Carnegie-nominated novel Dragonborn, the picture book The Wolf’s Story and the middle-grade novel Traveling Backward, as well as several other books for children in his native UK.
Fireborn was a weird book for me. On the one hand, I loved the story, the characters, and the magic. Several parts of the book were beautiful and had me engrossed in the story. I cared about the characters and what they were experiencing. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to see how it ended.
On the other hand, I spent much of the book feeling like I’d missed some vital piece of information. It was like getting dumped into a play during the second act. I would have loved to know more about the world they lived in, the creatures in it, and how the magic works.
The ending left me scratching my head. Some characters were completely unresolved, like they walked off the stage without saying their final lines.
The point of view bounced around a lot. At first, it was very distracting, but I got used to it and it didn’t bother me after the first few chapters. There wasn’t really a main character, either. Based on the cover and synopsis, I had expected the story to focus on Bee, but Cabbage starred in more scenes than she did, and the other characters played equally important roles.
For the most part, Fireborn was enjoyable. There are some disturbing scenes and scary situations, but there is also friendship, loyalty, and kindness. There is beauty and strength amidst trials and hardships.
Content: Disturbing/scary scenes