Series: Sunborn Rising #1
Published by Neoglyphic Entertainment on 5/2016
My content rating: MG/YA (Some fantasy violence, but nothing too extreme - appropriate for all ages - including adults!)
A distant world of Great Trees floating on an ocean surrounding a star.
The flotilla forests cycle light and water through their boughs into their lush canopies. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dark, slowly, subtly over many generations. The civilization of creatures living among the boughs believe the darkness is normal. That is, until one willful young girl named Barra discovers the hidden journal of her late father.
Pouring over her father’s writing, Barra learns of a mysterious plague, a creeping vine choking the flow of light and water into the canopy. Her father warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.
Together with her two best friends, a Rugosic named Tory and a Kolalabat named Plicks, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father’s story, even if it leads her beneath the Fall.
Sunborn Rising is a fantasy of truly epic proportions – it may feature characters in roughly the middle grade/young adult age range, but it will appeal to fantasy lovers of all ages!
The story follows Barra and her two best friends, Plicks and Tory. They find out about a threat to their world via Barra’s father’s journals and decide to try to gather evidence on their own (when some of the adults in their community don’t seem to want to admit that something might be wrong). But the three bups (basically a word for young ones) end up in deeper danger than they ever imagined when their explorations lead to their downfall – literally. Below their world, they find a vast, strange land filled with both peril and unimaginable beauty – but they have to get home if they ever hope to share it.
What Fed My Addiction:
- A lush fantasy environment. Aaron Safronoff’s brain must hold some sort of creative genius in order for him to have come up with the world of Cerulean and all its inhabitants. I don’t know the last time I read a book that had such elaborate and starkly beautiful worldbuilding. Everything is described wonderfully (though, I’ll admit that the illustrations helped me form better images for some of the settings and characters in my head!). The story itself is so intricately intertwined with the world that Cerulean is almost a character all its own – and each new setting is full of mystery and splendor. (Take a look at the image of the world below – I actually wish I’d seen it before I read the book because it might have helped me understand the structure of the world a little better and a little sooner!)
- Spectacularly gorgeous illustrations. Just scroll down to see a few examples. The illustrations in this book are nothing short of stunning, and they serve to bring Safranoff’s world and characters to life. I found myself eagerly awaiting each new picture – luckily, they were featured generously throughout the book. Plus, in addition to the vivid, full-color illustrations, there were small black and white illustrations sprinkled in as well. I could just sit and stare at them all day.
- Wonderful friendships. I pretty much fell in love with Barra, Plicks and Tory – the three adolescents who find themselves on an adventure to save their world – and themselves. I especially loved the friendship between the characters – it felt honest and real. These characters adored each other, but that didn’t stop them from getting into the occasional squabble – especially when the pressure really started mounting!
- The website. Okay, I know this is a weird thing to mention in a book review, but you have to check out the Sunborn Rising website too. There are tons of interesting extras there like a trailer and videos about the creation of the characters. PLUS, it looks like there are several additions on the horizon, including a video game and an app (which looks amazing – I so want to get my hands on that app!) and a bunch of other interesting tie-ins. I can’t wait to show my kids the website because I think they’ll love it and it will give them a great sense of Cerulean before they’ve even read the book!
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Too complex? The only major thing that held me back from giving this book five glowing stars is just that the worldbuilding was sometimes a little too overwhelmingly complex. I felt like I needed a glossary of terms by my side at all times to keep track of everything (hint, hint – that needs to be added to the website, which is already brimming with really amazing content!). There were many place names such as the Middens, and the Fall, and the Boil (and lots more) and more specific place names like Umberwood. Then there were all the creatures – Listlespurs, Kolalabot, Rugosic, Nebules, Roedtaw … this list could go on and on. I need detailed maps to understand where all these places are and a list of Cerulean terms (because there were also interesting plants and LOTS of other terms to keep track of). It was all a little daunting – and I imagine it would be even more difficult for younger readers. I actually think Safronoff could have cut down on a few of the extra characters who pop in as well to keep things a bit less confusing and more cohesive (for instance, Jaeden, who is a fantastic character but just sort of appears out of nowhere almost at the end of the book – wish she’d been introduced earlier).
- Third person omniscient POV (head-hopping). My other issue with the book is that it was written in (roughly) third person omniscient POV, which means that it could switch from one character’s perspective to another’s with no warning or break. This made an already somewhat confusing book more complex. The book was told mostly from Barra’s POV, but then it would occasionally jump into someone else’s head. I wish Safranoff had stuck to Barra’s perspective unless there was a clear break to indicate that we were changing POVs.
If you’re a fantasy lover, you need this book in your life. It will set your imagination afire! I give it 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via BEA 2016 and Lola’s Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
View the book trailer for Sunborn Rising here on youtube
Meet the Characters
About Aaron Safronoff:
Aaron Safronoff was born and raised in Michigan where he wrote his first novella, Evening Breezes. In his early twenties, he moved to California to attend culinary school. He fell in love with the Bay Area and has never considered leaving, although he did eventually leave the school.
During his ten years in the games industry, he worked at various levels and for several disciplines including quality assurance, production, and design. All the while he was writing a novel, short stories, plays, and poetry. His career in design introduced him to amazingly intelligent, fun, and creative people, many of whom he considers family today.
Safronoff self-published, Spire, in 2011, and won the Science Fiction Discovery Award for the same in the summer of 2012. By the end of that year he decided to drop everything and free fall into fiction. In the following three months he completed work on the sequel to Spire, Fallen Spire, edited Evening Breezes, and published both.
Today, Safronoff is co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment and working on his fifth novel, the second book of the Sunborn Rising series. In his spare time, Safronoff enjoys reading a variety of authors, Philip K. Dick, Cormac McCarthy, and Joe Abercrombie among them. He enjoys living near the ocean, playing and watching hockey, and video games. He has a deep love of music and comedy.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Sunborn Rising. These are the prizes you can win:
– 5 signed paperbacks of Sunborn Rising by Aaaron Safronoff
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 27 June till 10 July, you can view the tour schedule here.