I am so excited about today’s book review! Not only because this was a really fun and amazing book but because I am doing this review with my 12 year old nephew, Riley! Aaron Safronoff’s book is a middle grade fantasy novel and it was so much fun to read it with Riley and share our thoughts and opinions about it with each other. Read on for details about the book, a great interview with Aaron and a Giveaway!!
“…transporting wrinkles of light away from them, were like tongues of fire made solid.”
– Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall
“Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is the best vivid fantasy YA book of the year.” –Entrada Publishing
On a distant world of forests floating on an ocean around a star,
a blight threatens to plunge all life into darkness.
But three friends seek the light.
Together, they will Fall and be lost.
And at the very Root of darkness, they will find themselves.
But will it be enough to help them find their way home?
The world of Cerulean
Light and water flow from the ocean into the roots of the Great Trees, up through the boughs, and out over the lush canopy. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dim over generations of arboreal life, and the creatures of the forest have forgotten the light.
Barra, a young, willful Listlespur, finds her late father’s hidden journal, and reads about the old world and the mysterious plague her father believed destroyed it. He wrote that he warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.
Together with her two best friends, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father’s story, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.
Buy the book: Amazon ~ Author Website
Interview with Aaron Safronoff:
Aaron: Thank you, for inviting me to answer questions for Discovering/Writing Life. I’m excited! What would you like to know?
Lia & Riley: What is your writing practice like? Do you have a routine, a time of day or a specific place that is the most productive for you? And, has that changed over the writing of several books?
A: My writing practice has changed multiple times over the years. School and work, both for a few years, caused me to fit writing into whatever downtime presented itself: between classes, during shift breaks, and so on. Ultimately, it’s more about finding the room in my head than a place to put my body, and entertaining the crowds in my cranium to keep them out of my way. So, when deadlines call for me to order a number of words and record them, I prefer quirky cafes, a laptop, and headphones to distract my less writerly wrinkles.
L & R: When creating a fantasy world as you did in Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall, how do you keep track of all the elements such as names of places, the system of time measurement, the myths and legends of the world, the abilities of all the creatures?
A: I write it down . Sounds glib, but it’s the truth. Probably the reason I started writing in the first place; I experienced all of these worlds in daydreams and delusions, and I wanted to share them. Sometimes the fantasies blur into one another, and writing it all down forces me to organize the freeform blurs into coherent shapes and eventually, stories. I don’t often refer to my notes after I write them. The process of writing the notes either results in a meaningful addition to the book or not, and so the book becomes the reference.
L & R: The accompanying material online is amazing! We especially love the idea of the musical score that accompanies the pace of the reader. What inspired you to create a multimedia experience that goes along with the reading experience?
A: The franchise vision for Sunborn Rising emerged from a love of the modern, multifaceted nature of storytelling, and a desire to plan and create that cohesive experience from the beginning. I have to credit Dane Glasgow, founder of NeoGlyphic Entertainment, with the big picture push. It was an oddity to meet him when I did, having just left the video game industry as a designer in order to focus strictly on writing — nothing else! Luckily for Sunborn Rising, Dane wanted more. The art and music, combined in our reading app, has generated a unique and emotionally powerful way to experience the story, and we hope to do the same for other stories in addition to the rest of the trilogy.
L & R: Where did you get the names of the characters?
A: Almost always, I create names based on sound. There are times that I look for meaning first, but sound trumps all <= regardless of political alignment we have to take the word back! So, Barra popped into my head immediately, sounded right, and stuck. Her last name, however, felt like a link to her family tree — important in the world of Cerulean, but especially for Listlespurs — and so I wanted her name to be close in form and sound. I expect we’ll meet other types of “spurs” in the Great Forest. Plicks Battidash, on the other hand, is entirely the result of tasting the letters while picturing the little guy interacting with his huge family. All of their names fit in that sound family. I remember the creation of each name vividly, so please feel free to ask in the comments below, if you want a name origin for any character in particular.
L & R: Why the creepervine, why not some other plant or “villain”?
A: The creepervine is not the villain, but the result of Aetherial intervention in the lifecycle and extinction of its ancestor — interrupting myself to avoid tipping my saucer full of spoilers, but that’s the answer. The creepervine represents a physical and metaphorical expression of evil working from a distance, and the only way to confront that evil is at its source, at the root. The vine has a symbiotic relationship with the Great Trees, and in some ways, acts like a cancer. Generally, any time something unseen creeps slowly toward a band of heroes, devouring the light, and promising the end of a way of life, an analogy forms to all of the insidious, and subtle ways we are unmade as individuals and societies — so it just fits.
Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is a wonderful fantasy adventure story featuring three friends who travel farther than they ever thought possible. They are desperate to find a way back to their families, but the truths that they uncover along the journey are instrumental to ensuring the survival of their homelands.
The fantasy world of Sunborn Rising is incredibly well developed and the illustrations go a long way to creating this world fully in rich and vivid colours. The world is full of marvellous things to discover, from plants, to various creatures all living harmoniously together, to the threads that these creatures weave into their tails to mark their most precious memories. It is a world with deep and dark histories. However, because this world is so unique, it took a bit of time to envision and get settled into. I would have liked more illustrations near the beginning of the book of the landscape and had fewer character illustrations so my imagination was free to create them for myself. That being said, the illustrations are INCREDIBLE!
This story moves at a great pace, keeping the adventure going steadily forward and the discoveries interesting and exciting. It was hard to put it down and I certainly wanted to keep reading after the book was finished.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy and adventure stories, but it is particularly great for middle graders!
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