The Firebird Song
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Published June 8, 2021
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About The Firebird Song
The Kingdom of Lyrica was once warm and thriving, kept safe by the Firebird, whose feather and song was a blessing of peace and prosperity. But the Firebird disappeared, and Lyrica is now terrorized by the evil Spectress who wields her powers from within a volcano. All that remains is a mysterious message scrawled on the castle wall in the Queen’s own hand: Wind. Woman. Thief.
Young Prewitt has only known time without the Firebird, a life of constant cold, as his village is afraid to tempt the volcano monsters with even the feeblest fire. But he has heard whispers that the kingdom’s princess survived the attack . . . and he is certain that if he can find her, together they can save Lyrica.
Princess Calliope has no memories beyond living on her barge on the underground lake. But as she nears her twelfth birthday, she is certain there is more to life than the walls of a cave. When Prewitt finds her, he realizes that she is the missing princess: the only hope for Lyrica. Determined to decipher the meaning of her mother’s strange message and find the Firebird, Calliope and Prewitt set off on a quest that puts them in more danger than either of them ever anticipated.
I love this book. The cover reminds me of the series by THE UNICORN QUEST by Kamilla Benko, and I think readers who liked that series will definitely like this book. I expected to find an imaginative fantasy story with bright, young heroes, and I did find that. But this book has so much more than that.
The story centers around the opposing forces the Firebird and the Demon. The Demon feeds on fear, so keeping people hopeless and afraid strengthens it. But the Firebird can be summoned by a queen full of hope, and it can drive out fear and defeat the Demon. I love this. It possibly sounds a little cheesy the way I’ve explained it, but in the story it felt really raw and beautifully done.
The main characters are both twelve, and they both wrestle with these mixed messages of coming of age at twelve– Calliope is told she’s reached the age of hope, and Prewitt learns he’s ready to take up his place learning to be the Bargemaster like his father– and being told they’re still children and can’t do anything important. You’re just a girl, someone tells Calliope at one point.
But it’s these two twelve-year-olds who take on the Demon in the quest to change their world. They find their own courage, and they inspire others. Their hope becomes contagious. I love that so much. I got all weepy at all these different points in the story when characters were brave and hopeful in the face of pretty steep odds. It really made me think about how powerful hope is. How it is the catalyst that can lead to real change.
This is one of those books I feel like I’ll be talking about for a long time and sneaking into Christmas stockings and reading lists. It’s so good. So worth reading, especially if you’re feeling discouraged.
Readers who enjoyed THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND by Catherine Doyle or SEEKER OF THE CROWN by Ruth Laurin need to check this one out.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
I didn’t pick up on any clear specific representation. Some characters are described as having bronze skin.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Two supernatural creatures, a Firebird and a Demon have the ability to appear in the world. The Demon feeds on fear. The Firebird is summoned by a queen full of hope and can break the Demon’s hold on the world.
Some descriptions of battle and references to people being killed by monsters.
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