Wednesday 20 October 2021


Fireborn by Aisling Fowler (HarperCollins) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN 9780008394189

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

‘Twelve’ is a teenager referred to as a number, because she willingly gave up her name. She made a pledge to Hunting Lodge to forget her past and to become impartial. Twelve has spent the last two years at the lodge as a Huntling, training to earn her place as a Hunter – a protector of the seven clans in Ember.

When the lodge comes under attack by goblins and a fellow Huntling is kidnapped, Twelve is first on the trail to rescue her. She is annoyed to discover that ‘Dog’, the sphinx-like stone guardian of the lodge, and two other Huntlings, accompanied by snagglefeet for transport, are all heading out on the same mission. Amiability has never been her strength.

The crew carefully follow the tracks left by the goblins, which leads them to the infamous and unpredictable Frozen Forest, a fear-inducing place of mystery. Despite their battle training and mantra of ‘constant vigilance’ the group get more than they bargained for when they are met with constant traps, tricks and a myriad of clever and deadly beasts.

Twelve’s challenges are not only physical but largely mental. She is haunted by her previous life and regrets constantly flood her thoughts. While she spends most of her time trying to hide from her past, she eventually discovers that she is also hiding from herself. 

Fireborn is an engaging middle-grade fantasy novel highly recommended for lovers of prehistoric adventure, magic and mythical creatures.

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