08 July 2010

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

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?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

The only reason I'm giving this book a "B-" is because I liked the idea.  But I can't say much more than that.  Needless to say, I had a huge issue with this book.

The biggest part was the writing style.  It was all telling, not showing.  Kay's reactions weren't really described very well.  It was written almost like a biography.  It gets better at the end of the book, but I had to grit my teeth to get there.  There was absolutely no way I could get into Kay's character.  She seemed so...shallow.  I really hate when shallow characters get to do all the cool stuff and they "miraculously" get all the good ideas.  Just irks me.

Another thing was that the stakes were not drawn very clearly.  I mean, all that would happen is that she would get thrown in jail?  That's it?  Oh yes, it's just so incredibly horrible!  Is that really the best she could do?

This book just kinda flew over my head.  And it's such a shame, too.  I really wanted this book to be good because I love the topic of dragons, and after "Eragon," not a lot of people have touched the subject, just like no one has really touched the subject of wizard schools since "Harry Potter".

The ending was very rushed, too.  And hokey.  It would have worked better with a different writing style, say if Carrie Vaughn wrote with a more magical hand, then the ending would have appeared better.  But the last few pages were really rough writing-wise.  I couldn't get any sense of realism, of actually being there with the characters.  This book could have been so much longer if Carrie Vaughn just put some depth into it.

I loved the cover, though.  It was partly why I picked it up.

She knew how to talk to at least one of them, if only she dared tell anyone.  And if only she could be sure she and Artegal would see each other again.

As always, I still recommend that you give it a try.  Just because I don't like it doesn't mean that you won't.

Note: In the book, Carrie Vaughn uses the F-22 "Dragonslayer".  It seemed strange.  The F-22 Raptor is already taken.  Figured she would've used something different.

Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 309
  • genre - urban fantasy
  • rating - 3/5
  • Summer Reading 2010 - #10