Plot or Premise
A young recruit enters a war college for dragon riders, compelled to enrol by her mother, a high-ranking military officer.
What I Liked
I had seen this book in a bookstore in Maine when I was travelling over the summer, and it seemed like a fairly normal YA fantasy novel. It had some “legs”, and sounded good for the description, so I snapped a pic of the cover and downloaded it to my TBR pile when I got home. I assumed Jacob would likely read it first; we have similar tastes in those types of books, and I knew nothing about the author Rebecca Yarros or her other books. About a week ago, a woman I follow in video clips described the book as a cross between Divergent, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings. But she also talked about spicy scenes, her lingo for sexual interactions ranging from kissing to full-on sex scenes. I thought maybe I should read it before giving it to Jacob.
Holy crap. Yeah, he’s not reading it. While I hate to spoil anything, the sex scenes read more like Penthouse Forum than YA. Graphic references to insertion of fingers, slippery genitalia, etc. It apparently reflects more of Yarros’ erotica in previous romance novels.
But going back to the story itself, I found the plot solid and see why someone would see it as a cross of fantasy with Divergent. Violet may be there against her will, preferring to have become a scribe instead, and despite her own fragile physical condition, she is definitely Dauntless-class. The training is good, and you even get to see an American Ninja Warrior course built into the training, although it isn’t labelled as such, obviously, even if it is clearly a Warped Wall obstacle. I don’t know if it’s a trilogy or not, maybe ongoing, but I’ll read the next ones.
What I Didn’t Like
I found the book a bit long and slow in parts, and the constant “I love John, but I also love the bad boy Zach” angst that is common to YA romances was a bit tedious in places. I am way too old to care about that crap. The reader has no delusions about who will be the “winner” of her heart.
I also would have liked a LOT more info about the other wings, other factions (like scribes and healers), and even more so for information about the dragons themselves. They’re super cool, yet the book drops info about them like reciting a Wikipedia page.
Finally, the ending has a two-part twist for what’s really going on (easily seen) and who’s involved, and I had pretty much figured out what was coming, just not sure which “choose your own adventure” ending it would be amongst three.
FYI, the sex scenes were way over the top and more yawn-inspiring or silly than erotic.
The Bottom Line
More dragons, less sex