The Firebird Song
By Mary Eisenhart,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mythic coming-of-age adventure pits hope against fear.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The story takes place in the kingdom of Lyrica, and many of the characters, place names, etc. relate to music -- including princess Calliope, named after a musical Muse in Greek mythology. Importance of reading is a theme.
Strong messages about family, friendship, courage, and finding yourself. Hope has the power to transform lives. Don't hesitate to do things because you're "just a girl." You can use anger as a force for good but not for cruelty. Kindness and empathy can work better than force.
Positive Role Models
Twelve-year-olds Prewitt, son and heir of the Queen's Bargemaster, and Calliope, who's just discovered she's the princess and sole survivor, are cheerworthy and relatable as they grapple with the destiny suddenly thrust upon them by a prophecy and struggle to save their kingdom. Along the way they come to terms with ethical issues like whether to go with your heart or your sense of duty when making important choices, and the bond between them becomes strong and resilient despite surprises and setbacks. Some adult characters, like Prewitt's parents, are doing the best they can in terrible times and trying to keep kids safe.
Violence & Scariness
The Demon and The Spectress, who encourage and feed on fear, laid waste to the kingdom and killed hordes of formerly happy people in the past, so now everyone lives in terror of them and their Ash Golem monsters. A child cast out from her family and community for looking different becomes a murderous magical being. Singing is punishable by death, and an old woman who defiantly uses her last breath to sing of hope is killed by their monsters. In her efforts to kill the princess, The Spectress has hunted down all the girls born in the kingdom around the same time, killing many. Lots of the story takes place in creepy passageways, underground caverns, and other perilous places. Fighting with magic, knives, various other weapons. Some characters who appear to suffer violent deaths come back unharmed.
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"Moron"as an occasional insult.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Firebird Song, by first-time novelist Arnée Flores, follows the adventures and growing friendship between two 12-year-olds in a mythical kingdom where hope, in the form of the Firebird, and fear, in the form of the Demon, are locked in eternal struggle. The Demon, who thrives on keeping people in a state of terror, has had things his way for many years, since his forces massacred the royal family and lots of others, then went on to forbid books, reading, and especially singing among the populace. Singing will get you killed -- and it does get an old woman killed at the beginning of the story, but not before her song and prophecy of the Firebird's return bring together the tweens -- Calliope, who's just discovered she's the surviving princess, and Prewitt, whose father captained the Queen's Barge, back when there was a Queen and things were good. Violence includes a woman killed by monsters; fighting with magic, knives, various other weapons; the Spectress has hunted down all the girls born in the kingdom around the same time, killing many; some characters who appear to suffer violent deaths come back unharmed. There are also positive messages of courage, friendship, empathy, forgiveness, and redemption. Along the way, surprising revelations and shifting realities make the protagonists rethink their longtime beliefs as they strive to do the right thing.
Where to Read
Based on 2 parent reviews
my fave. !
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my fave. !
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What's the Story?
THE FIREBIRD SONG once resounded in the kingdom of Lyrica, a happy, hopeful place whose people loved beauty and music. But the Firebird is long gone, and the kingdom is in the clutches of his mortal enemy, the Demon, who fosters and feeds on fear. In this dark world, Prewitt, whose father once helmed the Queen's Barge, is about to turn 12 -- the "age of hope." But then a beloved old woman's urgent prophecy, desperate song, and violent death set him on a path to find the long-lost princess, also 12, who's the key to bringing back the Firebird. And, as such, she's a target, which is why The Spectress, who serves the Demon and massacred the royal family, hunted and killed all the girls her age in the kingdom. Prewitt's never seen a girl his age until his unexpected meeting with Princess Calliope -- who, it turns out, has been hidden away along with the barge all these years. They're determined to bring light and music back to their world, but The Spectress has people too terrorized to even think about the Firebird, so there are many challenges and dangers ahead.
Is It Any Good?
First-time author Arnée Flores concocts a complex tale of 12-year-olds finding themselves caught up in a cosmic conflict and world-saving prophecy they didn't know existed just a few days ago. There's a lot of death, darkness, and despair in their world -- but they may be able to change that by bringing back The Firebird Song. Navigating their complex world and its challenges, protagonists Prewitt and Calliope are engaging and relatable, whether battling demonic beings or, in Calliope's case, scorning the supposed limitation of being "just a girl." The tale takes on quite a lot, what with the characters' personal and family struggles, the cosmic complexities and mythic back story, the heroic quest and adventures along the way--it all gets a bit muddled sometimes, but it's definitely pro-hope.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the cosmic struggle in The Firebird Song -- between good and evil, light and dark, hope and fear. What other stories do you know that deal with this theme and the issues that confront their characters?
Would you find it hard to live in a world with no music? What about books? Why do you feel that way?
In The Firebird Song, people drive a child away from home and family to fend for herself because she looks different. Do you see any examples of people treating others badly because of the way they look? What do you think of this?
- Author: Arnée Flores
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
- Publication date: June 8, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 11
- Number of pages: 304
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 10, 2021
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