Dreams of Fire by Shauna Lawless

Today’s review is about DREAMS OF FIRE by Shauna Lawless. It’s a standalone prequel novella to the Gael Song series. It’s not necessary to read the CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN or THE WORDS OF KINGS AND PROPHETS to enjoy this story. (Although, they’re great books and I do recommend them!)

Author: Shauna Lawless
Series: Gael Song #0.5
Age Category: Adult
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publish Date: March 14, 2024
Print Length: 105

Those interested in purchasing Dreams of Fire can do so on Amazon.*

*This is not an affiliate link and I do not make a commission from any purchase made using this link.

Official Synopsis

The immortals of Ireland renew their ancient warfare as the new generations come to terms with their place in the world. Part of Shauna Lawless’s critically acclaimed Gael Song series, the novella Dreams of Fire introduces medieval Ireland as it was a century before The Children of Gods and Fighting Men.

Rónnat and Fódla are Descendants of the Tuatha Dé Danann. They live a peaceful life with their aged warrior father in the north of Ireland. The Fomorians – age-old enemies of their kind – are thought to be battle-vanquished, for no conflict has been fought between their immortal races for generations.

But rumours of war and endless shifting allegiances mean that the Descendants’ position is not secure in the mortal world. There are powerful voices among the Descendants who want their kind to dwell permanently in strongholds hidden from mortals – threatening Rónnat’s love of freedom.

And the Fomorians, though greatly reduced in number, are far from vanquished. Led by their mighty prince, Balorach, the remaining Fomorians, with their gift of fire-magic, seek to destroy the Descendants.

The Descendants have the advantage of their own magical powers, and mighty warriors defend them… but if they cannot be beaten, why do the voices Rónnat hears on the wind speak of death and destruction?

My Review

DREAMS OF FIRE by Shauna Lawless is a novella set before the events of the Gael Song series. Reading THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN is not a prerequisite to enjoying this prequel story. DREAMS OF FIRE reads like its own story, albeit with a slightly open ending since there is a follow-on series.

In DREAMS OF FIRE the author introduces the reader to key Descendants of the Tuatha Dé Danann characters. The Descendants believe their long-time enemies, the Fomorians, vanquished. And so they live more or less peacefully across Ireland away from their fortress on Fennit Island. But an uneasiness slowly grows amongst the Descendants, for they notice less children born with their gifts with each generation. So, along with their father, Rónnat and Fódla make their way to the Gathering. While there, Rónnat begins to hear voices that speak of death and chaos.

Since I have already read the currently published Gael Song books, my perspective of this novella comes from a more well-versed place. As such, I really liked learning about Rónnat’s and Fódla’s backstory. In particular, DREAMS OF FIRE focuses on Rónnat’s point of view, which is a nice change from the series, where Fódla has a main POV. There is a little family background as well as how Rónnat comes into her gift.

As usual, the writing style of DREAMS OF FIRE is fantastic. I loved it in the first two books and Lawless continues to excel here. It makes me feel like I’m hovering over the character’s shoulder in 10th century Ireland. The amount of description is just right and leaves the reader with a mysterious mythical vibe.

For about 100 pages, DREAMS OF FIRE packs a lot of information without feeling overwhelming. (Of course, I’m also familiar with the world, so perhaps that helped me.) There are only a handful of characters to keep pace with and essentially one POV. There is enough explanation about the gifts and lore of the Descendants without bogging the reader down with too many factoids.

In short, pick up DREAMS OF FIRE! And after that, read THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN and THE WORDS OF KINGS AND PROPHETS. Lawless writes phenomenal historical fantasy that fuses myth with actual historical figures and events. Consider this novella a gateway into an immersive saga.

Rating: 4
Content warnings: death
Reading format: Kindle e-book

4 thoughts on “Dreams of Fire by Shauna Lawless

  1. This whole series sounds very good. I’ve read a couple of prequels without reading the other books first and I think it’s better to have the knowledge of the world and characters under your belt first.

    1. It is a good series! I can see where you’re coming from and I suppose I broadly agree. But this novella can be read pretty easily as a stand-alone, too. 🙂

  2. This series sounds so good, Celeste. 🙂 I weirdly don’t read prequels before the actual series ever, and even if they were standalones, I’d feel the intense need to read the books in publishing order. ???? So I may need to check out book one first!

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