Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different. Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe in herself.
I have a weakness for dragon stories. I also have a weakness for those “there ARE things that go bump in the night” surprise stories. This book has both so it is off to a good start.
As the book blurb states Elena discovers, in a rather brutal fashion, that dragons do indeed exist. Not only that but also that she is the child of a dragon. Just to make sure that Elena reaches the proper levels of mental turmoil her father, the dragon, is killed during in the process. When Elena wakes up again she is, surprise surprise, in a knew world and there is no going back.
So far so god. Naturally, the fact that Alena is the child of a dragon makes here a wee bit special. Not in a good way according to some people. She also has a mark that makes here a wee bit special but in a different way. The latter gives here a free ticket into the obligatory school of magic and other interesting subjects that I whish had been taught in my school.
A good chunk of the book is dealing with Elena getting to know her new world and her new friends and some not so friendly persons (and dragons). Some parts of this I found a bit annoying since we are repeatedly told that Elena doesn’t understand a thing of the lessons, is constantly on the verge of collapsing etc. etc. Luckily she does get a grip on herself after a while.
Since this is the first book in a series there is a lot of world building going on. Lots of explanations about the history of Dragonia, about the interelations between the humans and the dragons. It is not until the last third or even a bit later that the story wanders into some more action oriented territory. I found the world building and especially the interrelation between the dragons and their bonded riders rather well done though.
In the final couple of chapters we get some action both exercising the sword arms and the brains although I have to say that the author ought to do a bit more effort on her riddles and puzzles. Several of the ones used are so commonly used, and obviously well known, that it felt a bit like a letdown seeing them reused yet again. For the finale, I had almost expected that Elena should have some revelation or develop some power explaining why she has “the mark” but it looks like the author is going slowly on that one. Well Elena does perform a remarkable feat that makes the headmaster at the school raise his eyebrows a bit but she is still a fairly “normal” student at the end of the book.
Anyway, the conclusion for me is that this is a quite pleasant dragons & magic fantasy read. Since it starts off in modern times and people in dragon realm uses a lot of modern appliances I was almost tempted to call it Urban Fantasy but it does not quite fit that label as far as I am concerned. I would also say that it borders on being Young Adult book.