Reviews for Fireborn : A Dragonborn Novel

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
In this Dragonborn prequel, greedy wizard Slowin steals both name and power from his apprentice, Bee. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Cabbage's own master, Flaxfield, suddenly loses all his magic, and Cabbage and a new friend, Perry, are the only ones who can help. The curiosity, courage, and talents of Bee, Cabbage, and Perry, growing into adolescence, are at the heart of this intelligent, down-to-earth story.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #6
Forward's sturdy, precise manner of expression has deepened as he has moved backwards from Dragonborn (rev. 3/12) to its prequel, Fireborn; indeed, here his prose often takes on a luminous quality that suits the story's fire imagery. When greedy wizard Slowin steals both name and power from his apprentice, Bee, the conflagration affects magic everywhere. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Cabbage's own master, Flaxfield, suddenly loses all his magic, and Cabbage finds that he and a new friend, Perry the (Hobbit-like) roffle, are the only ones with the ability to amend the situation. Memorable, convincing adult figures mingle with the young protagonists in this story, but the curiosity, courage, and talents of Bee, Cabbage, and Perry, growing into adolescence, are at its heart. An intelligent, down-to-earth wisdom runs throughout, as enriching as any magic: "The stories say different things," Flaxfield tells Cabbage. "And…they're all true." Forward's poetic language isn't grandiose in epic style, but humble, earthy ("he wasn't old, but his hair had already grown tired of him"), and thought provoking--making this excellent middle-grade fantasy a rich mix of character, seriousness, comic foibles, and loving exactitude. deirdre f. bake Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 November #1
Prequel to Dragonborn (2012), this haunting fable interweaves stories about magic with the magic of stories. When even the simplest spells turn feral, wizard apprentice Cabbage and his master, Flaxfield, search for the origin of this deadly "wild magic." Their hunt leads to Bee, an apprentice whose immense potential has been secretly leeched for years by her abusive master, distorting the natural order of magic. When he steals her wizard name, the explosive blowback looses a terrible evil, and it's up to the pair of apprentices to seal it. Despite the cataclysmic stakes, this is no standard epic adventure, all quests and derring-do. There are dread abominations and ghastly slaughters (all the more nightmarish for their elliptical portrayal), but nothing is more monstrous than human selfishness, cowardice and vanity. Against these, no heroic exploit stands more valiant and glorious than the small acts of kindness, loyalty and trust that take place within a quiet library, a humble inn and a wounded spirit. Lyrical prose of lapidary precision and restraint etches a character-driven narrative of intimate enchantments, evoking terrible beauty from blazing infernos, subtle whimsy from nonsensical banter, bone-chilling horror from slithering beetles, and soul-piercing wonder from a simple "Yes." Although it stands fully on its own, knowledge of the companion novel will enrich appreciation of this tale, and the revelations here will cast new light upon the former; readers of both will long for the story's resolution. Terrifying, moving, inspiring and enthralling. (Fantasy. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2014 February

Gr 5-8--Bee is apprenticed at a young age to a weak and evil magician named Slowin, who steals her true name on her 12th birthday and awakens a wild and malevolent magic that transforms Slowin and his minions into fearsome creatures who invade a castle and devour its inhabitants. Bee is saved from the sorceror's wrath by Cabbage, an apprentice to the great wizard Flaxfield. Together they must figure out how to stop the evil man from growing even more powerful. This stand-alone prequel to Dragonborn (Bloomsbury, 2012) is distinguished by its vivid cast of characters and multilayered relationships. Magical elements are rather intense: a nasty bit of sludge coughed up by Bee becomes a vile, slurpy, shape-shifting carnivore; a river of beetles strips the flesh from every living thing it encounters; Cabbage dribbles tiny stars from his fingers when he's distracted. The fine writing and compelling plot are sure to enthrall readers of high fantasy. Give to fans of Tamora Pierce's "Circle of Magic" (Scholastic) series and Angie Sage's "Septimus Heap" (HarperCollins) series.--Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

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VOYA Reviews 2014 February
Twelve-year-old Bee is a powerful magician who is just growing into her abilities, and Slowin, the wizard to whom she is apprenticed, wants to harness her magic for himself. He tricks Bee into helping him cast a spell, which sparks a fire and makes magic throughout the land dangerous and unpredictable. The spell also badly burns Bee and Slowin, and the latter transforms into a dark beast whose hunger for magic grows. Bee is nursed back to health by magicians who believe she is the key to making magic safe again, and they work together to restore the land The juxtapositions between the young characters and their juvenile situations, and the adult characters battling dark villains make this novel difficult to sell to a particular age. This may be attributed to the fact that Fireborn is a British import and a high fantasy. Those same dark elements, however, are what make this book compelling: the evil beetles, the slime creature, and the wild fires to name a few. Confusion may come from the vague rules and uses of magic, the numerous characters and their similar sounding names, and the lack of descriptions for some creatures. Fans of high fantasy may look beyond these issues and simply immerse themselves in the adventures and friendships and enjoy the read.--Deena VivianiFireborn is a book full of magic, friendships, and transformations. When a new wild magic is released into the world, a young girl, Bee, and her friends must try to set everything right again. Although the plot can get a little complex, the action and surprises keep the reader turning the pages. Those who enjoy books with magic and adventure will like reading about Bee and her quest to right the world's magic. 3Q, 4P.--Maia Raynor, Teen Reviewer 3Q 3P M J S Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.