The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

The Immersive World of "Sunborn Rising"

The Immersive World of "Sunborn Rising"

Yo yo yo! Donte here again with a book recommendation/review for you all. It's one of the more creative and original books I've read all year: Aaron Safronoff's, "Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall." Boy was it a treat! Let's get into it.

A friend of mine, whose judgment I trust when it comes to books recommended this book, and I finally carved out some time to dive into it. I'm glad I finally did, because I could tell from the first few pages that I was in for a treat. Safronoff's writing is some of the best I've had the pleasure of reading, and that's saying something. Read this sentence and tell me I'm wrong: "The rhythm of Barra’s heart became a brief rapid staccato like an urgent knock at the door. Barra didn’t hesitate. She answered." Okay maybe I'm exaggerating, but the writing is really good.

The brightest spot is the illustrations, be they with or without color. They allow you to witness the world the author created, even if it takes away from what you come up with on your own while reading; however that loss of coming up with your own images of the setting and characters is miniscule one you see what is drawn. It's breathtaking to say the least. With that said, those same illustrations have a small drawback: the art could be referencing something different than what you wanted to see, or something you read a page or two back, and that can lead to a break in the tension, excitement, awe etc. It also causes a break in the flow of the story...mostly due to me stopping and gawking at the gorgeous art. Even still these illustrations make the book for me; Safronoff not only created a world but gives us the chance to see it the way it was meant to be seen. That is going above and beyond if you ask me, and I very much appreciated it, because while my imagination is off the wall, seeing the art in this book absolutely floored me.

Another refreshing thing about this book is the relationship between Barra, Plicks, and Tory. It's so innocent and brings a smile to my face more often the longer I read. To see how these young bups cared about each other, to see the sincerity in their emotions; it was great. A great friendship devoid of ill intentions. It's rare for me to see in books, but maybe that's just because of the genres I've been reading lately. Nevertheless, it was nice to see such pure comradeship and not wonder whether or not someone was going to stab someone else in the back.

On another note, I didn't pay attention to the subtitle of the book at first: Beneath The Fall. I was often wondering when the bups's circumstances would change, but it states in the title itself that things "beneath the fall" would be explored. I think actually reading the blurb before getting the book would have prepared me for that, but I just got the book due to the recommendation of a friend. I'm glad I did though.

Safronoff develops an almost overwhelmingly vivid world of light, wonder and creativity, while balancing that with a story that melds a tale of lighthearted adventure with the fear of the unknown in the form of the threat of Argus, the Creepervine and all that comes with it, including the very real possibility the world as they know will end. Not too light nor too heavy, right? There's nothing better than seeing an creator at the top of their game, whether it's as an writer, artist or something in between. That is Aaron Safronoff's "Sunborn Rising": a creator running on all cylinders. Barra, Plicks and Tory are engaging characters, despite their young age, and you can't help but want to see them succeed. That's how you know an author has done their job well: you care about the characters and what they go through. Intriguing characters with believable and grounded relationships despite being in a fantastical world; a beautiful and well-developed world; and awesome characters designs. What more can you ask for in a book?

Oh, and Jaeden low-key became my favorite character, despite how little time she was given. She was like a loyal ninja in service to Brace and Barra, and I loved that. Nothing better than a skilled, shinobi-like character. And her character design is awesome! Wish there was more of her throughout, but that can be changed in the sequel...fingers crossed.

Well, that's it for this one! Stay golden Ponyboy.

Jane Killick's "Percievers Series"

Jane Killick's "Percievers Series"

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