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.
Now, it’s been a while since I’ve written these rant-reviews. This review is going to be more rant than review – be warned.
The book starts with our whiny, giggling protagonist Elena, who is packing to leave town for the hundredth time thanks to her paranoid father. What a typical way to start a story. Unique, indeed. In the first couple of pages, she discovers that her father is a dragon and loses him in the next couple of pages. She gets hurt in the process and wakes up in Paegeia (some magical land hidden from humans in the Bermuda triangle), the place her father’s bedtime stories were set in. Poor Elena is given no time to get over her father’s death and is forced to go to Dragonia, a school for dragons and dragonians (a lame term given to people who ride dragons).
Let me break down my thoughts as ordered as possible:
Elena is a typical irritating protagonist who apparently has a “very dark mark” and the only dragonian whose father is a dragon. She was so two-dimensional and the embodiment of all clichés a fantasy heroine can bear. Her father dies and not even once does she think about why he was killed. Or who was after him to kill him. Or why he was so paranoid and kept moving places. No. All she can do is cry and whine about how she doesn’t “fit in”. Of course, you won’t, Princess Elena. If you’ve been studying math and science for 16 years of your life and are suddenly expected to wield a sword and fight like a ninja – Impossible. It was impractical to even push her into school without any prior training to catch up.
Also, Elena is this huge complaint box.
She complains because she can’t stop thinking about some hot prince. She complains when others try to help her catch up in class, but it’s too difficult to catch up. She complains because girls glare at her and are jealous of her. At one point, I felt sorry for her sidekicks/roommates Sammy and Becky for having to put up with her.
She finally grows a tentative spine towards the end and decides to go on a suicide mission to “save the world”. Elena is also a great friend. When she decides to go for this mission, she blackmails her friends (and says some pretty horrible things to them) to come along with her and whines later when they don’t talk to her.
“What’re you so afraid of? You of all people should be backing me up, Becky.” I could feel my nostrils flare. I was furious that she wouldn’t even consider my plan.
Then, when this “mission” is done, some brainless nitwit praises her:
“But for your friends to follow you all the way on this mission that seemed crazy, that’s what makes kings and queens.”
She shamelessly accepts it without an ounce of regret that she basically lead all of them to their deaths and that one actually died.
Don’t even get me started about this part. If I had a dollar for every time “For the love of blueberries” and “For crying out loud” came, I would be swimming in a pile of them. The writing style was terrible. Let me justify by giving some examples:
- Unnecessary “tones” to try to bring out expressions of the speaker:
“Elena,” he said in a surprised tone.
He chuckled. I giggled. Sammy shrieked. Becky chirped.
Such robotic dialogue. How would it be to keep a straight face and say “Happy tone: I’m happy”?!
- Poor description:
Here is an excerpt where Elena is crossing an obstacle course:
The crasher came next. I decided to dive for it. If I lost a leg, I could somehow still manage to finish and get the reward.
As I dusted myself off, I couldn’t believe it.
That’s literally it. You get the feel, don’t you?
There is absolutely no description of how Paegeia looks which makes picturing the story hard. The author tries to bring life to a 2-D world by introducing ridiculous terminologies like BTW (like BC/AD – before the wall) and a TV series called “Mystical Song”. And a “cammy” instead of a mobile phone.
- The language:
If we are talking about a magical land that surpasses the human world, shouldn’t the style of conversation be at least a tad bit poetic? No. Teenagers here use “biatch” (instead of bitch) and “veratiful” (very+beautiful). Ugh.
- Honorary mention: My personal favourite
He lifted up the left side of his butt and took out his packet of smokes.
So. Where is the pack of smokes? In the valley between your right cheek and left cheek?
Elena meets Lucian, a hot guy who is also the Prince of Tith. A couple of pages later, they are sharing “passionate”, “long” kisses. A couple of pages later, Elena is worrying if Lucian’s parents will accept her. Sure. I don’t even think this can be classified as insta-romance. I mean, what do you call romance that happens even before a conversation can happen?
The best part is that the plot had so much of potential. It sucks that the author blew a beautiful idea with such terrible, cringeworthy writing. I probably would read the next book because, for the build-up given at the beginning, practically nothing happens in the first book.
*Kindle Edition provided by Fire Quill Publication and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Did you guys read this one? What are your opinions?