Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff (Review and Giveaway!)

It is clear that this book is a labour of love. From the illustrations to the themes of friendship, sacrifice and team work, Sunborn Rising is a beautiful book.

Book Details:

Book Title:  Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
Category:  YA fiction,  385 pages
Genre:  Fantasy Adventure
Publisher:  Neoglyphic Entertainment
Release date:  May 2016
Content Rating:  PG (No sexual content, drugs or bad language. Some mild violence, and there is a death in the book.)

Book Description:

"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

Our Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani and Son

The first thing I do when I come across a middle-grade book for review is to ask my 12-year old son if he would read it. After seeing the gorgeous book cover, book trailer and interactive website for Sunborn Rising, my son was very interested in reading this book with me. After all, he is the intended audience, so I was pleased, mostly because he is also a reluctant reader.

Sunborn Rising is the story of three friends in a fantasy adventure that takes place in the incredible world of Cerulean. There are three things that truly stand out about this novel: 1) the wonderful imagination of the author who created a fantastical world (both forest and ocean) that would translate beautifully to the big screen (thing Avatar and Finding Nemo); 2) the stunning illustrations that bring it all to life for the reader; and 3) the well-written text that challenge the young mind with new words and terminology.

My son and I eagerly dug into this book and we quickly became enamoured with Barra, the main character in the novel. My son thought Plicks was simply adorable. I loved Barra's relationship with her mom, too. As a parent I found the scenes with Barra and her mom resonated with me. Toward the end of the novel we also get to see Plicks and Tory with their family members. Kid-lit books that include family scenes and relationships always get an extra thumbs up from me. They are also perfect books to read with one's child, something I've been doing for years.

As you can see from the image above, all three characters are unique and the Cerulean world is mystical and beautifully imagined. Not only are the characters unique in physical appearance but they are also well-developed. Barra is courageous, stubborn and curious. Plicks is clumsy, funny and cute. Tory is patient, level-headed and loyal. The three friends embark on a journey as they try to uncover what is causing their world to go dark. Never did they think they would discover another world beneath the fall.

About one third into the book, my son began to point a few things that were making it difficult for him to follow the storyline. Because this is a fantasy novel, the reader's mind is introduced to strange new places, names and species. It becomes like a new language. This is the beauty of fantasy novels, but it can be a lot to take in for a child all at once. There are many characters in this book and they are introduced with new names and unique features and attributes that are at times laboriously described. This broke the pace of the story and sometimes bogged down the story. 

Because the world building is truly unique, we think it would have been a good idea to include a glossary and a character list with all the characters in the book with a short description of who they are, including all the new places introduced, perhaps even a diagram showing the levels in the Cerulean world.

The last one third of the book was the most exciting, full of action and danger. It is clear that this book is a labour of love. From the illustrations to the themes of friendship, sacrifice and team work, Sunborn Rising is a beautiful book. There are a few unresolved plot threads, which I'm assuming are going to be addressed in the sequel to this book, which I look forward to reading. Kudos to the author and his team at Neoglyphic Entertainment for creating a fun adventure book suitable for the whole family along with its interactive website!

To read more reviews, please visit Aaron Safronoff's page on iRead Book Tours.

My son and I had the privilege of interviewing the author. You can read our interview with Aaron Safronoff here.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

The book trailer for this book is so well done!

You can also find more videos here:

Meet the Author:

Aaron Safronoff is author of the Discovery Award winning science fiction novel, Spire. Since his debut, he's published a sequel, Fallen Spire, and a novella of literary fiction, Evening Breezes.

Safronoff's diverse background includes the formal study of computer science, bio-chemistry, and culinary arts. However, most of his career has been in the videogame industry in quality, production, and design.

Today, Safronoff is the co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment, and is busy writing his fifth novel, the second installment of the Sunborn Rising series.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!


1. Five winners will each receive a signed hardback copy of Sunborn Rising AND a free signed CD of the original musical soundtrack (open to USA only)

2. One winner will also win a 16’x20’ high quality (giclée) printed piece of the original art on canvas, signed by author Aaron Safronoff as well as Christopher Chamberlain the Art Director (valued at $100) – open to USA only

3. Ten winners will each get a gifted Kindle copy of Sunborn Rising with a $10 Amazon gift card AND a free digital download of the original musical soundtrack (open international)

Giveaway ends Aug 6, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Each time I read this review, I feel a warm glow all over. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Aaron! I can still the world of Cerulean in my mind like a movie. Truly impressive!

  2. The artwork is amazing! Love the creativity.


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