on Nov. 29, 2014 :
Kaena’s always been a little wayward. She doesn’t like to let anything get the better of her, so when that chicken runs off into the forest, she knows that she has to go after it - even if that forest is a forbidden area. When she crosses paths with a dragon, she realizes that they aren’t the vicious creatures she had been told about. Without much thought, she knows that she must protect this dragon, even when it means taking its egg home with her. She hides it in her bedroom, aware that its discovery will mean it’s destruction as well as her punishment, as all who associate with dragons are considered evil. But when the dragon hatches and her brother, who works for the very people who hunt dragons, comes home, keeping the dragon hidden becomes more difficult than she had first expected.
When one of her family members is killed, she is forced to flee from home and seek refuge with people she has never met…or simply doesn’t remember meeting. As it turns out, the family that raised her wasn’t her blood kin and her memory had been wiped at a young age. As her life is turned upside down, she must cope with yet another sudden change: she is in the middle of a war. She must pick sides, but this is more difficult that it would seem, especially when she learns that evil lurks in every corner…that a dragon lies within everyone.
This was a very enjoyable book! I’m not going to say something like “For her first attempt, this was a pretty well-written story.” Forget that. This story is well-written by any standard! The world was very well developed and I love the interesting take on dragons. The addition of a half-human half-dragon character was super cool! The pacing was perfect. I never got bored and I never got disoriented.
I also really enjoyed the characters. Sure, Kaena’s a bit obstinate to the point of frustration. And Jarden makes some pretty dumb choices. But isn’t that how most people are? I found these characters enthralling, not because they were perfect people, but because they were flawed. They faced difficult situations, struggled with the ‘dragon within,’ messed up a few times, but were able to make it out alive. Those are the kind of characters I want to read about.
That being said, the dialogue was a bit clunky at times and I found some of the character’s reactions to be a bit odd. Kaena seemed to act out over really small issues, but the problems that seemed to be the biggest were downplayed. And sometimes the character’s thought-processing didn’t quite make sense. This bugged me. But the only reason it bugged me was because I actually liked and cared about the characters in the first place, so I can’t really say that it’s a bad thing that I found myself slightly annoyed at times. I simply hope to see more carefully thought out character reactions in the next book.
In the next book. Yes, I will be reading the second. Why? Because, my criticism aside, I really enjoyed this story! It has great messages, something that is sorely lacking in many fantasy novels. And the imagery, description, and world building was great. It really gave me a new look at dragons, an often stereotyped fantasy creature, which I really appreciate. So yes, I will be buying the next one. In fact, I’m going to be looking forward to it!
(reviewed 68 days after purchase)