Review: Sunborn Rising Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

Posted June 29, 2016 by Lola in Fantasy, Review / 8 Comments


Sunborn Rising: Beneath the FallSunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall (Sunborn Rising #1)
by Aaron Safronoff

Rating: 4 stars

Cerulean is on the brink of collapse. The decay wasn’t fast, it wasn’t obvious, but now the world stands on the precipice.

Woven forests floating on an ocean around a star, Cerulean’s 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 his discovery of Cerulean’s brighter past and the mysterious plague he believed has all but destroyed it. He warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words…

Together with her two best friends, Barra will rekindle her father’s legacy and traverse the Great Forest to relight her world, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.

To fully realize Safronoff’s incredible world building, an amazing team of artists helped visualize the depths and magic of Cerulean through 40 full color pieces of art and over 80 line drawings. This illustrated fantasy novel, Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall, is available on Kindle and in Paperback and Hardcover editions. (Note: If reading on an e-ink device, color illustrations will be grayscale).

My Review:
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

The first time I heard about this book I was immediately intrigued, it sounded like a fun book. I looked around a bit more and found the sunborn rising website and from that moment I was sold, I knew I had to read this book. The website showed a sample of the beautiful artwork included in this book and I love the idea of including artwork in a book. And I am so glad I managed to get a review copy of this book as it surpassed my expectations and after finishing I just want to know when the next book will be here.

Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is a story of a strange planet and the creatures that live there. It’s a whole new world and it’s as much fantasy as and adventure book in my opinion. It tells the story of three friends who find out there’s something wrong with their world and when almost no one listens to them or at least not enough to take action, they take off on their own to investigate. This was such an exciting read and I really enjoyed it. It’s very story driven with the plot always evolving and continuing.

It took me a long time to read this book, but that’s because I had little time to read, not because I wasn’t enjoying it. And I did savor every moment of this book. Every time I encountered some artwork I had to show to to my boyfriend. The artwork tells as much of the story as the actual words. It’s really impressive how much art there is in this book, there are full colour images, but also a lot of small sketches and they really make this world come alive. It shows you how this new and exciting world and the creatures that live there look like. And it really ads to the story.

I have read books with artwork before, but never like this one. Here the artwork is so seamlessly part of the story and at the same time the artwork enhances the story and the story works better because of the addition of the artwork. Most of the artwork shows actual scenes and some show just a character or creature or object they encounter at that chapter. And the artwork really helped to paint an imagine of everything and as result I was able to visualize everything a lot better. I can’t say enough good things about the artwork, it was just stunning. The pictures had so much detail and the full colour ones where filled with bright colours and the artwork is just amazing.

I would say the artwork is reason enough to read this book, but at the same time that makes it sound like the rest isn’t as good, which definitely isn’t true. I really enjoyed reading this book, the story set-up might seem a tad cliché, but the way it’s told and the way their adventure evolves is really unique as well. There are definitely some unexpected scenes and the way the story evolved managed to surprise me. The resolution at the end did seem a tad too easy and I wasn’t quite sure how it actually worked. There’s also one question that I had that doesn’t get fully answered, although it does get hinted at and I have my ideas. And then we get the last chapter which is sort of an epilogue which also forms the set-up for the next book, which makes me curious about how the story will continue.

The characters are great to read about, the three are all very different. They all have their own personality and they form a tight group of friends. While the characters are great, the book is very much story driven, but that’s in no way a bad thing as the story is very well done. But at times I would’ve liked to get even more depth into the characters and side characters and get to know them even better. I wanted to know more about their thoughts and how they thought and felt about some things.

The world building in this book is quite impressive, with the artwork helping to get a feel for this world and what things look like. The author has created his own world here, it’s really unique and different from most fantasy books I read. And the world comes alive with the descriptions and the artwork so you can visualize everything well. The only thing is that because everything is so new and different it could be a tad confusing when I first started reading. There are have characters names, species names, location terms and then role and job words and everything is new. So it could take some time to get everything straight. Also sometimes I was a tad confused at how the physics worked in the world, but that are mostly minor details or scenes where I was wondering how this was possible or why a certain creature would’ve evolved that way. But overall I would say the world building is really well done and the world comes alive due to the descriptions and the wonderful artwork.

To summarize: I really loved reading this book. The fantasy world Aaron Safronoff has created in this book really comes alive with the use of descriptions and stunning artwork. I really got immersed into this fantasy world while reading. The story is quite exciting and while the set-up might sound a tad cliché, the way it was written still made it feel unique. The book is quite story focused and it has a sense of adventure as well as fantasy. I quite enjoyed following this group fo three friends their adventures while trying to figure out what was wrong with their world. I do think the characters and side characters could’ve used a bit more depth at times. The world building is really impressively. A whole new world, filled with new species and characters and I enjoyed learning more about. The artwork makes it easy to visualize all the creatures and objects in this world. It could be a tad confusing at first as there are so many new words and terms to get used to, but eventually I managed to get everything straight. And the artwork is just stunning, this book is filled with a lot of artwork, from full coloured pictures to sketches and the whole book is filled with them and it really is as much part of the story as the actual text.


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Do you like artwork in a book? What’s the best book with artwork you’ve read?

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8 responses to “Review: Sunborn Rising Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff

    • Yes the artwork is in the same style as the cover, if you google the name of the book you can find the website of the book and publisher where they show some of the artwork.

  1. I’m glad you liked this book so much! The artwork does sound great. I can definitely see how it could add a lot to the story, especially since this is fantasy and has different creatures and settings. I think that’s a great idea to help readers visualize things. And good artwork is always a pleasure to look at.

    The world building sounds great too, and I know how you like that. I’m not used to reading high fantasy though so it usually does confuse me at first trying to keep everything straight lol. It’s also nice when characters are all different from one another, makes for a more interesting team. Even though I normally prefer character-driven books, story-driven ones can be good too 🙂
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Discussion: Realism in Books – Big Things vs. Little ThingsMy Profile

    • The artwork really was a pleasure to look at and it added to the book and helped with visualizing. Especially with al the new creatures and world we get introduced to, it really helped to have the artwork to show what things looked like.

      I know what you mean with how it takes some time to get used to a new fantasy world. This one isn’t quite high fantasy in my opinion, but the world is so different from what you usually see in fantasy that it took some time to get used to the world. But the world building was really well done and it was fun to see more of it and see how much thought and world building was put into it.

  2. I love how much you talked about the artwork, Lola, because I would be just the same! When an aspect of a book really captivates my imagination and I just fall for it, I spend most of my review going back to it because it just is basically the best thing- even if I still enjoyed the rest of the review! I wasn’t sure whether this would be my type of read before you mentioned the artwork, but before I’d finished reading your review I had looked it up on amazon and had a peek at the artwork and I know exactly what you’re talking about. It. Is. Gorgeous. And in a style that really captivates me, and so nice for fantasy. And the fact it really adds to the written part of the story is so wonderful, because I adore art in books and sometimes it just doesn’t seem necessary. So the times when it adds something extra special are wonderful.

    I feel like the tone of this book is going to be really interesting for me. I’m going to go over to goodreads and take a look, but judging from your review and the art, which I like *so* much, I’m going to be adding this one to my tbr. xx
    Romi recently posted…From me to you and back again -7-My Profile

    • Yes the artwork was just so stunning and most books don’t have it and if they do only sporadically, so the use of artwork really stood out here. And the artwork itself was so beautiful.

      Glad to hear you took a peek at the artwork, words can’t do it justice, you just have to see if for yourself to understand. It really added something in this book and made it easier to visualize everything.

      I hope you’ll give this one a try and please let me know if you do pick it up as I would be curious to hear what you think of this one.

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