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.