On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity’s deepest fears: dragons.
Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she’s breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she’d rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.
But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?
Oh, Carrie Vaughn. I feel like I’m just learning about you, even though I’ve read everything you’ve ever written (as of Monday, anyway).
This is her first YA book and I thought it was a good choice. (Her second YA book, Steel, just came out.)
I found Kay to be a risk-taker, a leader. A girl you don’t typically see starring in a YA book because of how outdoorsy she is. She’s a tomboy.
Of course, this isn’t a romance, which might explain why the female lead is different from many other books I’ve read recently. Carrie doesn’t write romance books. She makes the reader dive into worlds that are complex and intriguing. Ones that you want to know more about, regardless of the characters or how they’re interacting with one another.
And she doesn’t give it all away at the beginning, either. You have to work for the answers. Not that reading this book is work. You’re swept along with the action and the dialogue and before you know it, you’ve become immersed in this world where dragons are real and live a couple miles from your house. You can actually SEE them flying across the border. (How cool would that be?)
The dragon Kay befriends was adorable. I know it’s not a word one typically uses when describing a dragon, but if you’ve seen How To Train A Dragon, you’ll know what I mean. Not that this dragon is a small one, like in the movie. There are still times when his size and bad-ass looks play into the story and you’re reminded that this creature could kill you with a flick of his foot, which makes Kay’s friendship with him all the more awe-worthy.
I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is about Carrie’s writing that makes me like her so much. Maybe it’s the strong female leads. Or the cute interjections of the female lead and her love interest scattered throughout the book. Or something else entirely. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the ending. And unfortunately, that’s a biggie for me. The ending felt unfinished. So much was left unsaid and I couldn’t believe there was nothing else when the pages ran out. Carrie’s website states a sequel is not currently in the works, but she has an idea for it, so it might happen in the future. But nothing’s set in stone.
To that I say, urgh. I want a sequel.
No, I demand one. Kay’s story is not complete. She needs a proper ending.
So, if you decide to read this book, be warned. The ending leaves you hanging. But the rest of the story offsets it enough that I’m still recommending it to those who love fantasy, dragons, and the idea of co-existing with them. (Dragonheart lovers, in particular.)
Now I just have to wait until I can read Steel and hope that this sequel comes to fruition. Otherwise, Carrie and I might be having words at Comic-Con this year. (I’m pretty sure she’s going from the schedule on her website. *fingers crossed*)