[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Neoglyphic Entertainment
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Kindle
Purchase: Amazon[/alert]

Every once in a while there comes a story that is so original and imaginative that it demands to be acknowledged. Aaron Safronoff’s Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is such a story. The setting is so strong and distinct that it is undeniably the main character in the book. Safronoff’s detailed description of the seemingly tiny, lemur-like creatures that live out their lives on the boughs of giant trees offers the reader a complete and gratifying escape from reality. Over all Sunborn Rising is a wonderful, refreshing tale that will leave the reader excited for more.

Barra Swiftspur is one of many different creatures that live in the giant tree known as Umberwood. Rooted firmly in adolescence, Barra’s strong-willed personality and penchant for exploration often puts her at odds with her mother. But soon Barra, along with her two friends Plicks and Tory, find themselves embroiled in a dangerous adventure that deposits them further from home than they, or any of their families, could have ever imagined. Through their attempts to get back, they come to appreciate the preciousness of friendship and family, learn of ancient and ongoing sinister forces at play, and catch a glimpse, for the first time, of how big the world truly is.

The story is fast paced and full of action that, after a bit of a slow beginning, occurs in a rapid-fire and episodic way. Safronoff writes with such passion that the reader cannot help but be gripped by the story. Enhancing the narrative are beautiful and vivid pictures imbedded throughout the text. Fans of fantasy and Young Adult literature will find this an enjoyable reading experience.

Safronoff does an adequate job of making his imaginary world a reality on the page, but there are times in the text when the reader is left wanting more of a description of surroundings, events, or characters. Both the characters and the sense of place are introduced already fully developed, leaving the reader somewhat disoriented. This unsettled feeling is then enhanced when the lack of description collides with rapid scene changes and the quick exit and entrance of characters. The illustrations, while also beautiful and pleasant, become a necessity to help the reader fill in descriptive gaps occasionally left by the text.

As this is the first book in the series, there are themes in Sunborn Rising that have stay power and the potential for further growth and development. A large theme that permeates through the entire story is that of honoring loved ones, be they family or friend, living or dead. This theme weaves the tapestry of the storyline and adds gravity and meaning to events that unfold. It is a theme that is universal in both Barra’s world and ours, and allows readers to instantaneously and subconsciously connect to the story, the characters, and the marvelous world of giant trees.

Sunborn Rising is a thrilling, beautiful, and original piece of work. The fact that there is a sequel already in the works is sure to cause delight, as the world of Sunborn Rising is a place readers will want to visit again and again.

It should be noted that, as a reviewer I was given a pre-production copy of the book to read. This copy did contain some minor grammatical errors and incorrect page order on pages 234, 235, and 236.

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