Caution, mild spoilers ahead.
“You make your own future.”
I have mixed feelings about this one and here is why.
Adrienne Woods takes us deep into a well thought fantasy world from the first pages of the book. The immersion comes fast and hits hard. We don’t know who Elena is before we are thrown into a magical world of dragons and their riders. The book is set somewhere in between the medieval fantasy (dragons and magic) and urban fantasy (Paegeia is even more advanced than the world outside its borders).
The change comes fast and maybe too fast. I would’ve liked to see for myself how Elena suffered her father’s constant paranoia rather than being told about it. I think this was the problem throughout all book. Most of the time Woods told what happened and how Elena felt afterward instead of showing through the actions of the protagonists and their friends.
The characters don’t develop throughout the book, they rest as shallow as they were in the beginning. Craving for the most fashionable outfits and the perfect boyfriends and then jumping on an incredible adventure when a real threat arises even though they all might die.
I understand that as a character Woods wanted to show overwhelmed Elena when she arrived at Paegeia but even though her reaction to the death of her father seems dull. She is over it in about one chapter and is deep in a relationship with a prince of Paegeia by the next one.
The romance and all the relationships are far too easy and far from normal. The first girls Elena meets are instantly her friends and the first boy she sees is her perfect boyfriend. Well, technically the second one, but I have no doubt the first one will be hers too. Take that for a fairy tale.
The book is just too predictable about it. And not only the relationships, the adventures too. I didn’t feel surprised at any turn in the story and wasn’t relieved when the perfect happy ending arrived (almost perfect).
All in all, for a fantasy, even though it is a YA one, the world was well thought and well structured. The school for dragons reminded me of Harry Potter, but there is no way to escape it. After the success of the Harry Potter series, anyone confronted with the words magical and school will think about Hogwarts. But the first book in the Dragonian series stood apart and had its own background and conflicts.
But before I put this book to rest on one of my shelves, I want to take a moment and talk about editing. There were far too many grammatical errors and adverbs for a novel that is published, even if independently. “Show, don’t tell”, a lesson that was missed by Adrienne Woods.
This was a good enough read that I am already busy reading the next one.
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