March 10, 2024

Series Sunday: Fireborne, Flamefall and Furysong

(The Aurelian Cycle Trilogy) 

Series Sunday is a bookish meme hosted by Literary Marie. I encourage all of my fellow book bloggers and bookhearts to play along.
  • Read an installment of a series.
  • Share your review/recommendation below.
  • Include the title, author and series name.

My Series Sunday pick is The Aurelian Cycle trilogy by Rosaria Munda. Annie and Lee were children when a brutal revolution changed their world. It gave everyone—from the lowborn to the heirs—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders. Annie's lowborn family was killed by dragonfire while Lee's aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship and now Annie and Lee are competing for the top position of Firstrider in Fireborne, the first book of the trilogy.

Book two, Flamefall, centers around power and punishment. The dragonlords are eager to reclaim their city. The Firstrider is charged with leading the war and enforcing the government's rationing program. It is up to Annie, Lee and new character Griff to decide who and what to fight for.

Furysong is the sparked conclusion with Annie and Lee once again fighting for their lives and for each other. Griff is facing an execution and new character Delo has to follow his family or surrender to his conscience. There is a new revolution threatening to burn homes and whole cities. This book is the ultimate test of loyalty, love and sacrifice.  

"I know how it feels, to reach for a life you can't have and try to fit it over your own body like a borrowed coat." ~ pg. 408 Furysong

Le sigh. It is better if I review this trilogy as a whole instead of separate books. Mainly because I am still undecided on final thoughts. Did I like it? Did I hate it? Did it make sense? Was it good? Was it bad? How was the ending? All of these questions and no firm answers. But don't spoilers!

I do not usually read fantasy. Yet BookTok peer-pressured me into reading romantasy. I was searching for a series to fill the void after reading Fourth Wing and Iron Flame. I wanted to continue riding the wave of dragonriders, revolution, war, enemies to lovers angst, squads and sparring. I needed to read more about dragons. And I am a sucker for a series with beautiful covers. So after reading the sample, I bought the trilogy in hopes it would live up to the quiet hype.

"It's strange how you can fight your way to a door, even through it, without thinking about what lies on the other side." ~ pg. 160 Fireborne

I started Fireborne with a strong side-eye. It was so familiar with the same terms and setting as The Empyrean series. I double-checked the publication date to see which author copied whom. To my surprise, this series was published first. I read on and quickly realized the similarities stopped and these things were standard for dragonrider lingo.

The Aurelian Cycle missed the theory factor. There was nothing for me to mull over or try to figure out. Yes, there were minor plot twists but nothing jaw-dropping. For the most part it was predictable. Very easy reading with little interpretation or reading between the lines. Perhaps because it is written for young adults. But half the fun of reading is theorizing what will happen and how it will be revealed across the lifespan of a series. Not even the cliffhangers were enough.

I have a love/hate relationship with the main characters in The Aurelian Cycle. Antigone is the underdog. From the very beginning, odds were against her. She was not supposed to win. She was not the vision that government wanted. It was frustrating at times when she would fight for her life then just hand over power to less deserving. I would talk to the book like, "Girl, you are worthy!" Meanwhile, Leo is the guy everyone rooted for and wanted as representation. Yet he let secrets of the past and love blind him. "Dude, get your mind right!" is what I would roll my eyes saying. 

"The funny thing about overhearing a betrayal is that it makes your own impulse to come clean evaporate." ~ pg. 279 Flamefall

The author did a good job of balancing screen time and narration with characters like Power, Griff and Delo. I like how each book introduced a new point of view adding layers to the story and enhancing the setting of different locations. Not too many authors can masterfully write multiple points of view—even within a chapter—and Rosaria nailed it. 

I just wish dragons played a bigger role. Instead, they were just a mode of transportation. A means to get from point A to point B like a regular 'ole car. The only inkling into the minds or personalities of the dragons were spillovers few and far between.

But my major gripe is carrying characters that should've been killed off too many times to count. I get it; every story needs a villain. But come the fuck on. So many lost opportunities just to leave a bad character in the story was frustrating to read. I was two seconds away from throwing the whole series in the trash if certain characters didn't meet a certain demise. 

The politics and other themes such as chosen family, loyalty and the caste system are what set this trilogy apart from others in the genre. In fact, romance played a backseat. This is what kept me reading until the end. It's a good thing I binged this series as a buddy read because had I read it upon its publication, and alone, I would have hesitated to make it through. So did I like it? Yes and no. The Aurelian Cycle is a good placeholder. Do I recommend it though? Hmmm, I'll let you decide.

Title: Fireborne
Author: Rosaria Munda
Published: October 2019
Pages: 432
Edition: Paperback
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 🖤 🖤

Title: Flamefall
Author: Rosaria Munda
Published: March 2021
Pages: 483
Edition: Paperback
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤

Title: Furysong
Author: Rosaria Munda
Published: August 2022
Pages: 482
Edition: Paperback
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤


  1. I agree with you 100% on this review. I read through it quickly bc I wanted to see what the characters were gonna do to resolve an issue and instead got more and more frustrated. The biggest disappointment was the dragons. She hinted at a connection that went beyond a pet but never really made it there. Ugh, I wanted to like it but just feel like I was punked throughout. ☹️

    1. Thanks for the buddy read! It was a continuous loop of reading further just to see what the characters would do. A pet is exactly how the dragons were portrayed! Such a wasted opportunity. We were indeed punked.