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Firebrand

(Rebel Angels #1)

by
3.72  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  156 reviews
It's the last decade of the 16th century: a time of religious wars and witch-hunts in the full-mortal world. The Sidhe are at peace until their queen determines to destroy the protecting veil. But exiled brothers Seth and Conal have vowed that they will survive and return to reclaim their fortress and save the veil. ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 13th 2010 by Strident Publishing Limited
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Alicia Mastrodomenico The Sithe have two names: the birth name and the true name.

While I haven't read beyond the first book, seems that the true name is found by others, wh…more
The Sithe have two names: the birth name and the true name.

While I haven't read beyond the first book, seems that the true name is found by others, when they really have to talk to you, to reach you, as if they had known it all the time and just suddenly remembered it.

Conal found Seth's when he thought Seth was going to die while taming the horse.

So Seth is Murlaiin, and Conal is Cù Chaorach.(less)

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Wendy Darling
DNF I read about 150 pages before I put this aside--not because it's a bad book by any means, but because I mostly felt indifferent to it.

Firebrand starts off with a great scene: a boy named Seth watches as his brother and his brother's lover are about to be put to a painful death, and he's helpless to stop it. All he can do is choose whether to end their lives to spare them the pain. The book then takes us back to Seth's childhood, where his history with his brother and his troubled relationsh
...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
It's been a while since I've come across such a difficult book to write about. Part of the issue involves the subject matter, themes, and ideas in Firebrand which all seem at variance with each other. This in turn gives me mixed feelings about the novel, because I struggle to even pin it down.

For example, at once it has the features of a historical fiction and yet also major elements of fantasy, specifically those pertaining to Celtic mythology. A big chunk of the book takes place in the Middle
...more
Terry Weyna
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Firebrand opens, Seth, a 16-year-old Sithe, has a crossbow trained on his brother, Conal. Conal is thin, his face half-blacked and bloody, his hair shaved from his head. Conal is about to be burned as a witch at the tail-end of the sixteenth century at the urging of a minister who smiles at the thought of the horrible deaths his victims are about to endure. Seth will kill his brother to spare him the agony of burning at the stake.

It’s a prologue that grabs the reader’s attention firmly. Tu
...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
What I'm realizing lately is that I have different requirements for fantasy than for most other genres, particularly fantasy of a more classic, epic vein. Where I don't mind essentially plotless books in realistic fiction or science fiction, characters drifting and just living out their lives, it really doesn't work for me in fantasy. Now, I don't mean that nothing happens in Firebrand; in fact, a lot happens, much of it exciting, but there's no driving, overarching plot. When I read fantasy, I ...more
Karissa
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it


I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This is the first book in the Rebel Angel series. The second book will be titled Bloodstone and is scheduled for a November 2013 release. I enjoyed the world building in this book and thought it was well written. The story moves slowly though. Also despite the commentary on the back of the book this book is pretty much straight fantasy, not an urban fantasy as described.

Seth and his brother, Conal, are Sithe and live in a world
...more
Michael
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Most fantasy fans
Firebrand is the first novel in Scottish author Gillian Philip's "Rebel Angel" high fantasy series. There are four novels in the series at present (with more on the way), but only the first is currently available in the US.

The book begins in medias res, with young fae ("Sithe") Seth preparing to kill his older half-brother Colin in order to spare Colin the agony of being burnt alive by witch-hunters. This initial chapter, which ends with Seth's finger still on the trigger of his crossbow, is bea
...more
Gergana
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Didn't like it... sorry.
The writing style was slow and boring, just like the actions and the whole plot. Even when there were 'interesting' things happening, they weren't described good, so they looked just as boring as the rest of the book.
...more
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

What was this book about? The question is not rhetorical, I am not really sure I can answer it adequately. The easy answer is it is about Fairies caught up in a sixteenth century witch-hunt; at least for half the book. From there it is a slow burning buildup to possible rebellion. Which sounds like a disjointed approach but the two halves transition seamlessly and do read as one tale. But it’s not really historical fantasy, only a small portion takes place in ‘the real world.’
...more
Nathan
Fantasy Review Barn

What was this book about? The question is not rhetorical, I am not really sure I can answer it adequately. The easy answer is it is about Fairies caught up in a sixteenth century witch-hunt; at least for half the book. From there it is a slow burning buildup to possible rebellion. Which sounds like a disjointed approach but the two halves transition seamlessly and do read as one tale. But it’s not really historical fantasy, only a small portion takes place in ‘the real world.’
...more
Linda Kool
Apr 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Contains spoilers

Plot
The beginning of this book was somewhat okay, but I quickly got tired of the same clichés being used in a novel as we’ve seen so many times before.
Parents neglect the main character
He ends up in a foster home, where nobody likes him
He has powers to see/feel the veil, all though only women should have that ability (which isn’t exploited later on, it’s another piece of the puzzle that’s forgotten about).
He get’s a unique somewhat magical creature he has to tame and becomes h
...more
Grace
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Firebrand is now my new favourite book! It has incredibly complex characters and Gillian Philip offers a banquet for readers who love books that make them pause and think about what they have just read.

The story is told from the point of view of a young Sithe boy named Seth. The Sithe are a warrior race of faeries, who are granted with unnaturally long life and the ability to speak and sense one another telepathically. Seth MacGregor is the bastard son of a Lord, and for this reason he is largel
...more
Liviania
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit: I almost didn't read FIREBRAND because Gillian Philip spells the word Sithe instead of Sidhe. I feared she might be a cupcake. I am so happy I ignored that twinge of fear and chose to read FIREBRAND anyway.

The blurb says that FIREBRAND is an urban fantasy, but it's not. It's part historical fantasy and part high fantasy, all portal fantasy. Perhaps there is something to that discussion last year that portal fantasy is unpopular. But FIREBRAND doesn't follow the typical portal fantasy
...more
Fantasy Literature
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Firebrand opens, Seth, a 16-year-old Sithe, has a crossbow trained on his brother, Conal. Conal is thin, his face half-blacked and bloody, his hair shaved from his head. Conal is about to be burned as a witch at the tail-end of the sixteenth century at the urging of a minister who smiles at the thought of the horrible deaths his victims are about to endure. Seth will kill his brother to spare him the agony of burning at the stake.

It’s a prologue that grabs the reader’s attention firmly. Tur
...more
Jeffrey
Aug 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am very conservative in some areas and very libertarian in other areas, so I realize that in the relatively liberal arena of YA literature, many authors are going to present a world view that does not mesh well with my own. Some authors are even going to belittle people that share my perspectives on the world around us. I'm a big boy; I can handle it and enjoy good literature anyway. But Gillian Phillip's liberal didactic in Firebrand is so inept and cliche ridden (e.g. religion equals superst ...more
Dreamer
Terrific story of the warrior Sithe, couldn't put it down, brilliant! I found this book in the teenage section of the library, I am way more mature and still enjoyed it immensely..

“A heart can only break so many times. I'm not saying it fails entirely: just that it mends the wrong way. It warps. It's stitched together loose and askew and it doesn't work as it should.”
...more
Gemma
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally posted on Book Chick City

Before reviewing this book, I have a confession to make. Every time I hear the term, “Young Adult”, I run screaming from the book. Mainly due to the fact that most of the books in this genre seem to be a variation of Twilight or Vampire Diaries (well, the one’s I’ve read anyway). Though there are people my age who still like these books and find them entertaining, I am past the teenage angst stage and prefer my tension more gritty.

However, my pre-conceptions
...more
Donna
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, faeries
Tor sent me these books a while ago and I’ve just gotten around to reading them. First off, it would help if I grabbed the first book in the series, which is FIREBRAND. I did not. I grabbed the third book in the series, WOLFSBANE, and got 50 pages in and was setting it on my Goodreads app when I realized I started with number 3. Derp. It’s the way I have them on my shelves. Right now they’re vertical instead of horizontal and series are stacked bottom up instead of top down (I don’t really know ...more
Becky
Jul 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Firebrand is so vast in its magnitude that I almost find it impossible to summarise. It has a longevity in its nature which mirrors the lives of the Sithe people that populate its pages. It has a brutality in its heart for the narrator Seth does not have a childhood structured with affection. He is an outcast. A child of his father's lover who unceremoniously drops him at his father's feet and expects him to take care of him. His father Griogair treats him with a raw contempt. Yet Seth idolises ...more
Caro
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The story is told from the point of view of Seth, a young Sithe who is sent to live with his Noble father. We learn very early that Seth never felt as if he belonged when he was living with his mother Lilith, an adviser to the queen Kate and that he doesn't belong either when he is sent to live with his father. He develops his strong character from this very lonely childhood. His half-brother Conal takes him under his wing when he is 8 years old and they become very close throughout the years. W ...more
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gina (My Precious Blog) by: Small Review
A fellow blogger friend of mine, Small Review, gave me this book to read because she ventured to guess I'd enjoy it. She was spot on. Problem is, I received this book from her almost over a year ago and I was dragging my feet to start reading it. What inspired me? Well, I read her book two review on her blog and she inspired me to read the book. You can read her review http://smallreview.blogspot.com/2013/.... So, this is a really engaging read. It made me feel, care and root for the characters ...more
Lelia Taylor
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: full-reviews
There are times when I’m completely surprised and blown away by a book that bends and breaks all my expectations and, when that happens, I feel as though I’ve discovered something that will stick with me for a very long time. Such a book is Firebrand. I have to admit I’ve gotten a little tired of dark faerie themes but I haven’t quite given up yet and I’m so glad I didn’t miss the opportunity to enjoy this one.

I won’t say a lot about the story since many other reviewers have already done so but
...more
Star
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Seth MacGregor has always been a strangely wild and fey child, even among the Sithe. Living behind the Veil, keeping them from the full-mortals’ attention, the Sithe are a magical and proud race. When Seth comes to live at his father’s fortress, he is ignored by his father (Griogair) and looked up with suspicion by his stepmother (Leonora). Only his half-brother Conal makes time for him, along with the few friends Seth has made in the fortress. When the cold and cruel Sithe Queen, Kate, decides ...more
BookeryBliss
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I won the ARC of this book from a First-Reads Giveaway, and I wouldn't have imagined that this book was as good as it was. The plot is engaging and the characters are well developed and life-like. Most of the book was development of people, places, things, and contained less action than I expected, but it's crucial to the story and it built a large amount of suspense in the process.
The book really takes off at the end, and leaves you with a cliffhanger eager for you to continue the story of the
...more
Rebecca E.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I read this after chatting to the hero on Twitter (long story, don't ask, just check out @sethmacgregor on Twitter) and he was such a charmer I had to read the book. It has become one of my all-time favourite books and I don't hesitate to recommend it to absolutely anyone. Lots of people here have reviewed the plot and given a brief blurb; I'm only going to add two things that really make this book stand out so far from the crowd:
1) characterisation - Seth is utterly, utterly believable as a bas
...more
Debbie
Mar 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
ok --this wasn't bad - which is really good because I haven't read a decent fantasy book in a long time..but for some reason, no one seems to want to write a single monograph anymore- so is this a tale that will go on and on?

I have been fooled before by fantasy authors who keep writing and writing - long books that often never move the action - then the author dies before finishing the saga and someone else has to finish it. I bailed out of that series long before then and am never going back.
...more
 wade
Jan 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is well written but there is very little to distinguish it from hundreds of other fantasy and science fiction titles that come out each year. This book is about two realms, one protected by "the veil" and one seemingly more hostile world outside it. Two brothers for one reason or another on a couple occasions are exiled outside the veil and have adventures there. There is fear that the veil some day will no longer protect those within. In my opinion what makes good fantasy good is that ...more
Jae
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy the older, grittier end of YA books and you love fantasy or the faerie folk, you'll love this book. A story with twists and turns, a couple of baddies you'll love to hate and it ends where it should, without leaving you feeling cheated in the name of a sequel.
There's one possible hole in it...but it may simply be that I was reading too fast and missed a piece of information in my rush to find out what happens. I'll go back and check and edit this later.

I lost three hours of my eight
...more
Christy
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ok so I am writing this on my phone please excuse autocorrect behavior in advance. Also listen to Outlander theme song seems more than right.
Now to the book.
HOW THE HECK HAVE I NOT READ THIS BEFORE NOW?
This series will be a sirens call series for me. In other words so good nothing matters but knowing what happens to my beloved characters and where the author takes them. I totally author crush right.
The author weaves past,present, and future in first person POV while balancing two worlds in a
...more
Marian Allen
May 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm generally not much of a fan of muscular fairies in books. They're generally somewhat Legolasian (if I may coin a term), and I didn't even like him in the books. FIREBRAND is different.

FIREBRAND blends the Celtic and the fantastic into a heady brew with just enough action and just enough magic and just enough grime'n'gore and just enough grandeur.

I held my breath in the final pages of FIREBRAND, hoping the end would be worthy of the rest. When I closed the book, I said, "Damn! I wish I had w
...more
Wayne
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy
This took me a while to read but I really enjoyed it. Good characters and an interesting plot. The characters did start out a little plain but by the end they had developed really well. Looking forward to the next one.
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156 followers
Gillian Philip is the author of more than 20 books for adults, young adults and children, including the Rebel Angels series (Firebrand, Bloodstone, Wolfsbane and Icefall). Her debut novel, the dystopian mystery Bad Faith, was published in 2008.

As well as fantasy she writes crime: Crossing The Line and The Opposite Of Amber are published by Bloomsbury. She is one of the Erin Hunters, working on th
...more

Other books in the series

Rebel Angels (4 books)
  • Bloodstone (Rebel Angels, #2)
  • Wolfsbane (Rebel Angels, #3)
  • Icefall (Rebel Angels, #4)

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