FICTION

The Firebird Song

Bloomsbury. May 2021. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781547605125.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-8–A Princess, a Demon, a Firebird, a Prophecy. In the dystopian Kingdom of Lyrica where no one dares to read, sing, or even hope, two children might just be the ones to restore their home. Young Prewitt has just turned 12—the Age of Hope—when he discovers Calliope, a long-hidden princess. The two undertake a quest to defeat the evil Spectress ruling Lyrica and call back the Firebird who once protected the kingdom. While this debut grapples with themes of hope and empowerment for young people, its well-worn tropes make it predictable and offer little to make it stand out among middle grade fantasies. In addition, it contains such extended world-building and elevated vocabulary that the intended audience may find the plot difficult to follow. The two protagonists are admirable in their courage and grit, yet the narrative is uneven in the emphasis placed on each character throughout the story. Calliope does most of the heavy lifting during the quest as Prewitt’s role shifts from central to supporting and never recovers in a satisfying way. Dedicated young fantasy readers will enjoy this book, but it’s unlikely to become a standout favorite.
VERDICT A suitable addition where there’s a demand; for large youth fantasy collections.

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