I got this book from the publisher, Gollancz, at Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I took a while for me to get into this book. At first it’s not totally clear what’s going on. I like that it starts with her being the slayer of dragons, and that was well written and interesting, but so many of the little details around it, her cousin, the slaves, her burn, aren’t clear at all until much later. The world building is slow which I struggled with in a story that jumps straight into the action. However, it ends up coming together beautifully. I like the old stories being woven in, and the fact that they call the dragons. 🙂 the idea of dragons being story hoarders is just lovely! 🐉
I struggled a little with the romance sub plot, if only as it felt a little forced on her side, an issue I often have with YA books. It was well explained for Torwin though. And I quite liked Roa and Dax, though we do not get enough story for either of them – especially Dax, I felt that he should have been more prominent as he’s pretty important to Asha’s story!
And finally – the villains. Oh my gosh I loved to HATE these villains. I like how we see one change through Asha’s eyes, that was so incredibly well written – at one point I really felt the final part of her heart break. And Jarek. What a vile man. And one who must be a good ten years older than Asha at minimum, which makes my skin crawl even more than he does in the books! He has one moment where I wasn’t quite hating him, when he was telling Asha about the day she got burned, but everything else is just vile. Every time he was on the page my skin crawled. Ugh. Especially his “gifts”, possessiveness and using Safire to control Asha.
There’s more I could say about this but short of discussing everything bit by bit from the whole book 😂I think I just want to add that the slavery felt lightly touched on for something so central to the book and also so harsh, like them not even being allowed to look at people. I hope that is dealt with later, as I imagine this has a sequel coming – it was pretty well set up! I think I will be getting the sequel, I want to see what Asha does next. A good read that takes a while to get into but is worth the wait.
This review is slightly edited from a more spoilery version I put on goodreads.