Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle #2) by Rosaria Munda

Fantasy, 496 pages, published in 2021

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.
[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: bullying/abuse, death, mentions of torture, mentions of a sexual relationship with questionable consent

I’m going to try to make it through this review without screaming about how much I love this series…but oh man, do I love this series!

This book picks up right were the first one left off and it did also have a pretty good recap of previous events woven in. I shouldn’t have expected any differently, but right off the bat, the characters are thrown into impossible situations once again.

There was a new POV added, which I can be pretty hesitant about in general, but the new character, Griff, added so much to this story. He is a peasant dragon rider under what is left of the old regime and everything about his story broke my heart.

I think contrasting his view on the old regime side by side with Annie and Lee’s perspective of the new regime was very interesting. The first book poses the question of if the new regime really is better than the old, so this comparison helped make that dilemma even more clear.

The politics in this book were so interesting! All the different dynamics, from food rations to what influence someone’s past has on their current standing, was just so interesting. I’ve never thought that I like political fantasy, but if this is what political fantasy can be, I’m in.

I was so emotional throughout this whole book! There are so many things that happen that are absolutely heart-wrenching and the ending also had a big impact. To say I’m excited for book 3 is a total understatement! I would sell my soul to get the next book now. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far.

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