Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by a fellow book reviewer, Laura at LaLaBookReviews, with permission from the publisher, Fire Quill Publishing, for an honest review.
Plot: 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.
Opinion: I am honestly wondering if I was reading the same book as everyone else was who has reviewed this on Amazon and Goodreads. I have seen a TON of really great reviews for this book with multiple readers praising everything about the story, from the plot to the characters. I can agree that the idea for this story is fantastic, but not much of anything else is.
Elena Watkins has grown up having an almost normal life, apart from her father moving her every 3 months in the hopes that they won’t be found…but only if Elena knew what they were running from. One night as her father rushes her out of yet another house, Elena soon discovers what her father has been so fearful about her entire life: dragons. Suddenly the fantastical bedtime stories that her father told her as a child becomes real, and they are attacked by threatening dragons that kill her father. Taken into Paegeia to keep her safe, Elena now finds herself in a world she thought was make-believe. Elena soon discovers that her new home and school are filled with dragons, and that they aren’t all as threatening as the ones she first encountered. Elena must now acclimate to her new life that is full of magic, as well as helping her new peers fight off an evil that is threatening their existence.
I have not written a fairly bad review in a long time, and it’s hurting me to have to do this right now. I try to keep all of my reviews positive with constructive criticism in them, and backing up every negative I have with a few positives. I’m really not sure if I can do that with this review, because I truthfully hated this book. In all fairness, my distaste for this book has NOTHING to do with the idea behind the book and the overall plot. I loved the world of dragons that the author created and the direction the author was going with the story. I enjoyed the turmoil that many of the characters were trapped in towards the end, and that this fantasy story turned into an adventure tale. Apart from the overall idea, I just felt that the execution was severely lacking.
My main issue with this story is the writing. I think we can all agree that if the writing in a story is just NOT working, it makes for a very difficult and cringeworthy read. When it came to dialogue, characters interacting, and the scene moving through the day as we followed Elena; the writing was driving me crazy. The author writes in short paragraphs that feel like bullet points, and these short paragraphs will literally jump into different times of the day without any warning or give the reader a vague explanation of a character feeling. I was constantly coming across sentences like “the pop quiz after was hard” or “I went straight to my room”. When I see sentences written like this and given in a way that feels like notes, I get the feeling that the author has trouble with dialogue and filling up the empty spaces of a story. When the author has characters go into detail about past events in Paegeia or explain facts, the author does a great job in being creative and descriptive. I know that if I were to write a book, I would have the same problem. Creative writing comes easy to me, but filling a story up with that unnecessary “fluff” is tedious and sometimes strays away from the nostalgia of the book. So I get that, I really do.
The characters…oy vey. I couldn’t connect with any of them, and they felt underdeveloped and boring. Elena is extremely irritating and immature. Her character whines and complains about everything! I just wanted her to get it together and stop being such a baby about everything, and suddenly she just does. It literally goes from her acting like a child, to having no fear and being a pro. How did that happen?!?! The relationship between Elena and Lucian didn’t exist and wasn’t building into anything, but then in one page they all of sudden are together and are all googly-eyed for each other. I have never witnessed such a rushed romance in my life, and I just found it completely strange. The author has also overused the use of exclamation points in dialogue between characters. I cannot express to you how many times you see “Becky!” or “Sammy!” or “Elena!” being said by one of the characters.
All I can really say is that I feel like this story was poorly executed and written. It makes me sad because I really liked the plot for this series and it has great potential to be SO much BETTER. This is of course just my own opinion, it seems that plenty of other readers are absolutely in love with The Dragonian Series and really enjoyed the writing. It just wasn’t for me, and with that, I will not be continuing this series.