Given the opportunity, would you ride a horse that could breathe fire, or run with the ocean waves? Or maybe one that could fade into shadows or summon lightning—or how about a horse that could literally shake and move the earth?
Growing up, I was a very typical little girl with a fascination for horses. In my mind they were powerful, beautiful, and majestic. The few times I got to ride one only spurred my desire to have one for myself, and at the time, if it wasn’t a horse book, I wasn’t reading it. PONY PALS and other middle-grade hardbacks of the like flew off my shelf. Then after my brother got me into fantasy—y’all, it was unicorns. But that was the only magical horse I could get to at the time, and quickly moved on to fairies and dragons (natural progression, right?😂)
But now there’s a new breed of magical horse on the scene: the solborn. Author Gillian Bronte Adams took her love of horses and fantasy and meshed together a creature altogether unique from the typical (yet still mysterious and grand, don’t get me wrong) unicorn.
In the world of her new Young Adult fantasy series, The Fireborn Epic, Adams crafts a thrilling and engaging story around these magical horses that have power over the elements. In book 1, OF FIRE AND ASH, we get to see the primary character riding a literal spitfire of a steed that can burst into flames, inspired by the author’s own horse (personality-wise, not setting-things-on-actual-fire-wise.) We also see horses with the ability to move silently and fade into shadows, mounts that can split the earth, and winged horses that soar through storms and summon lightning.
There’s a reason this series is called an Epic.
But it’s not just the magical horses and their unique abilities. Nor is it just the vast and immersive world with its varied landscapes and cultures. Nor is it even just the storytelling, which Adams displays with nail-biting action, vivid imagery, and a tri-stranded plot that keeps you fully engaged from cover to cover. It’s the heart of the story that blazed a trail onto my favorites shelf. It’s the story of lost souls, cast out and on the run, scarred by the past and imprisoned by lies fighting for freedom, the start to healing, and finding a home.
Book 2, OF SEA AND SMOKE, will be releasing on November 21 of this year, and I have been champing at the bit to get more of these two amazing characters! The tidbits of Rafi and this Seablood that we see in the first book instantly endeared them to me, and I can hardly wait to see how their hilariously awkward beginnings develop.
November still feels awfully far away, though, doesn’t it? Fortunately, we don’t have to wait quite that long to get more from this incredible storyworld! Adams has just released a short story, OF SHADOW AND RUST, which is available for free to newsletter subscribers. (Seriously, y’all it’s one of my absolute favorite newsletters. It’s full of great things and releases quarterly, so it’s not one of those spammy ones that clog your inbox. It’s more like a dear friend popping in to say hello).
Here’s the story in OF SHADOW AND RUST:
Markham te Hoard is itching to get back to the fight.
Four years ago, he traded in his field command to run the Outrider Training Unit so he could offer stability to the lad he rescued from a desperate home. Now, Markham can practically feel the rust settling on his bones. Not to mention his sabre.
He is intent on returning to active duty as soon as the lad can manage without him. But trouble is stirring in the heart of Soldonia, and increasingly, Markham finds himself pitting his wits not against external threats but internal politics that value blood-ties above skill or valor. When the lad’s future is threatened by the criminal deeds of his father, Markham confronts an unsettling truth: the fight he sought may rest closer to home than he realized.
This enthralling short story (9k words) takes place in the epic fantasy world of The Fireborn Epic where warriors ride to battle on magical warhorses who can breathe fire, summon storm winds, and vanish into shadow.
It can be enjoyed before or after reading Of Fire and Ash
Remember the question from way up top? Well, now there’s a way to find out! Follow the link in the image above to take a super fun quiz and discover what breed of magical horse you would ride in the world of The Fireborn Epic! I took the quiz and learned that I, myself, would most likely ride a Shadower (farthest to the right in the image above). This pleases me greatly, as one of my favorite characters from OF FIRE AND ASH, Finnian, also rides a Shadower.
Which one would you ride? Take the quiz and let me know—I’m super curious! Share your results on social media, too, if you’re able and willing, and tag the author @gillianbronteadams on Facebook and Instagram! Together we can make a splash and spread the word about not only this fun quiz, but this amazing story as well.
Gillian Bronte Adams writes epic fantasy novels, including the award-winning Of Fire and Ash and The Songkeeper Chronicles. She loves strong coffee, desert hikes, and trying out new soup recipes on crisp fall nights. Her favorite books are the ones that make your heart ache and soar in turn. When she’s not creating vibrant new worlds or dreaming up stories that ring with the echoes of eternity, she can be found off chasing sunsets with her horse, or her dog, Took. To keep updated with Adams, her books, wild thing (mighty steed), and dog, follow her on: