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Rosaria Munda Books In Order

Publication Order of Aurelian Cycle Books

Fireborne (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rosaria Munda

Rosaria Munda is an American author of fiction, young adult and fantasy books best known for her 2019 The Aurelian Cycle series. She was born and raised in rural North Carolina, where she spent her childhood climbing trees, self-teaching herself Latin, and reading Harry Potter’s fan fiction. She has studied political science theory at Princeton, and she’s currently a resident of Chicago, where she lives with her husband and cat.

Fireborn

In her Aurelian Cycle series debut novel, Rosalia Munda has crafted an exciting and compelling story that revolves around the overwrought nature of building a new empire on the ashes of the previous one, a regime that may be objectively better but always in the risk of failing because of its ideals.
Fireborn kicks off precisely nine years after a bloody revolution against the triarchy, the dragon families that ruled by their right of blood and enforced their dictatorship with dragons. Now Callipolis is an emerging government: everyone goes to school and is then evaluated in their class, with the skilled, most talented, and intelligent rising to the topmost ranks regardless of their background. Even though some people remain poorer than others, resources are equally shared, so no one lacks food or shelter. It’s an intoxicating idea, and Munda does a fantastic job of depicting precisely that without letting her story become a political disquisition. The reason is that she revolves her story around two main characters from distinct backgrounds and allows them to discover and react to the ways of the new government, which they both believe is imperfect but could be worth saving.

Annie and Lee are dragon riders-in-training, and after months and years of rigorous training, they are now striving to be Firstriders, a well-respected position in the dragon army. Lee is a Stormscourge, one of the dragon families massacred in the revolution. He was spared in the revolution and sneaked out (after witnessing the slaughter of his family), but this is a secret to him. He was raised in an orphanage, and that’s how he met Annie. Annie lost her family at a young age; they were farmers burned alive by dragon fire for failing to follow orders from the regime. Lee and Annie are friends, rivals and potentially more, and while Annie knows about Lee’s background, they never speak of it. Fireborn is a story about them, their past together, and their future and it’s lovely and passionate and full of pathos.

If you’re the type of reader who’s into dragons, you’ll not be disappointed with Rosalia Munda’s series debut novel Fireborn. Dragons are ever-present in the story; they are intelligent and powerful creatures and are psychically and emotionally bonded to their human riders. They serve different roles: as loving friends/partners, animal companions, and as weapons of war. In addition, they are a symbol of the state, pride of the military and they evoke the feeling of safe and cared for by the regime. Munda uses dragons as a symbol of the old regime that was dictatorial and the new regime that’s trying to be equitable. Imagine for decades and decades that whenever you saw a dragon in the sky, it would mean that the rider would take your money and crops and unleash a punishment that would haunt you for the rest of your life? That’s just an idea of how conflicted the citizens in this regime are worried about dragons. They are skeptical about the new government and are also worried that it might adopt the ways of the old regime and unleash terror upon them.

As it turns out, the survivors from the old regime have been establishing their dragon army in the nearby island. They’ve been training and are now ready to take back Callipolis. War is looming, and Annie and Lee have to examine their loyalties to friends, family, self, and city. Should Lee fight against his newly found family for the leaders who killed his family? Even if he believes that their government is better? Should Annie trust that her friend Lee won’t betray his country and put her future at risk? For Lee and Annie, there’s no easy way out and no perfect answers to these questions; their only hope is only to strive to be better than what came before. You’ll love every aspect of Fireborn: it’s philosophical, exciting, dark, hopeful and full of dragons and politics. It’s romantic, but this aspect doesn’t downplay the ugly reality of revolution, governance, and war. The novel talks about the true cost of leadership, the responsibility of those in power, and the weight of leadership. At the same time, this story examines the intimate tales of friends who’ve been forged by fire and the extents they’d sacrifice themselves for each other.

Fireborn ticks all the requirements of an epic fantasy story. Rosaria Munda fills the story with suspense that will have you wondering what would happen next, and the possible reveals will have you on the edge of your seat. The tensions between the characters continuously mutate as new developments emerge- especially when the tension is between the two main characters and there is friendship and love involved. The author has woven characters that will crawl into your heart and come to reality. You can vividly see the shortcomings of the society they live in and the flaws of the former government, and therefore as a reader you can see where everyone else stands in the ground of these ideologies. The world-building, including tensions between nations is fantastically done. You’ll see what the author means when she explains that Aeneid and the Republic was her source of inspiration. There are equal amounts of social and political explorations done more engagingly. These explorations create more depth of reflection that you won’t get with other books. Be sure to check out more books in The Aurelian Cycle series that boast fabulous reading, fascinating scenes and the turmoil of being a young adult expected to become a warrior of steel.

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