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).
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.