Etta

Audiobook Review: Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle #2)

Published March 23rd 2021

Author: Rosaria Munda

Narrators: Christian Coulson (Lee), Candice Moll (Annie), & Aidan Kelly (Griff)

Audiobook Length: 15 hours 48 minutes

After fleeing the revolution and settling into the craggy cliffs of New Pythos, the Dragonlords are eager to punish their usurpers – and reclaim their city. Their first order of business was destroying the Callipolan food supply. Now they’re coming for the Dragonriders.

Annie is Callipolis’s new Firstrider, and while her goal has always been to protect the people, being the government’s enforcer has turned her into public enemy number one.

Lee struggles to find his place after killing kin to prove himself to a leader who betrayed him. He can support Annie and the other Guardians . . . or join the radicals who look to topple the new regime.

Griff, a lowborn dragonrider who serves New Pythos, knows he has no future. And now that Julia, the Firstrider who had protected him, is dead, he is called on to sacrifice everything for the lords that oppress his people – or to forge a new path with the Callipolan Firstrider seeking his help.

With famine tearing Callipolis apart and the Pythians determined to take back what they lost, it will be up to Annie, Lee, and Griff to decide what to fight for – and who to love.

World Map from Author’s Site (Click Photo to Access)

Flamefall is the captivating sequel to Fireborne. It is the second novel in The Aurelian Cycle series and it is best to read them in order as the story is continuous and both book one and two end in cliffhangers. This novel was a complete surprise as I thought the first novel was just okay – not bad, but not the greatest. The events in this novel take place directly after the ending of the first novel.  As the next novel in the series does not have a release date yet, it is going to be a very long wait to find out what happens next.  Similar to the first novel, there is some romance, but it is not the main focus of the story. This novel brings together a story featuring politics and adds incredible battles on dragons to create a compelling sequel.

The story begins with a new character, Griff, in the land of New Pythos.  He lives in a world that follows the old regime and is a low-born servant. He is a dragon rider with his dragon, Sparker, which chose him.  As the former lover of Julia, he seamlessly ties into the cast of characters. He serves his lord, Delo. The two of them were very captivating to read about and I loved their interactions and struggles based on their rank differences. Griff’s new point of view gave great contract to Annie and Lee, who live in the new regime. All three characters are originally seen as low-borns (due to Lee’s hidden identity in book one, so Griff provides a window into how the old regime treats them in New Pythos compared to the same class in Callipolis.  In New Pythos, the dragonlords rule and your place in the regime is determined by birth. It is a stark contrast to the new regime where classes are merit-based and you can test into a higher class.

In Callipolis, the story continues with Lee and Annie facing the aftermath from the events in the first novel.  Annie is trying to navigate her new role as Firstrider trying to protect the people. She  is charged with leading the war against New Pythos. Lee is struggling with his loyalty to Atreus and the killing of Julia. He begins to question the regime that hoards food for those of higher ranks and prevents those at the lower levels from entering safety shelters during emergencies.  The two of them face more obstacles as their different pasts are affecting their choices for the future. As the story continues to include both of their points of view, the reader sees both sides of the argument and can sometimes have difficulty deciding which side is right. This is something I liked about the author’s writing and storytelling as there were moments where I chose one side, but then thought the other side had valid points. It showed great talent in the author’s ability to make the reader think about the material they were reading.

The world that Rosaria Mundo is fairly complex, like it was in the first novel. However, there is slightly less detail given to the pages compared to the first. This is not a negative as the foundation is there from Fireborne and the story can, therefore, become more focused on the plot and characters. The storylines continue to focus on politics and what is considered right and wrong and how those two can sometimes be interchangeable depending on the circumstances. There are three main sides to the pending revolution. There are the basics of New Pythos against Callipolis. However, there is the internal struggle within Callipolis where people are coming together to make changes and the other side that is trying to keep the peace.  The author has stated that other worlds may come into play in the next novel and I cannot wait to see how they will eventually fit into the story.

There is a lot of character growth in this novel as both Annie and Lee take on their new roles. While I liked Annie and Lee fairly equally in the first novel, Annie far outshined Lee in this one.  In the first, they seemed a little too aligned in their inner thoughts, for me, as it was sometimes difficult to distinguish them. In this novel, each of them had a clear and individual voice. Even though Lee did not “wrong” to lose my interest in this novel, I felt that Annie just did more to help the reader connect with her as a character. I am sure that I will be back to loving both equally in the next novel as the story becomes even more complicated. The side characters, such as, Carissa, Power, and Duck, all get larger roles in this novel and I loved continuing to learn about each of them, especially Power. Overall, all the characters continue to make mistakes while trying to learn from them. The story itself is very engaging and now I cannot wait to read the next one (whenever that may be)!

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