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Thursday, July 26, 2012

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 interactions, 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.

Released: March 1, 2010          Pages: 309
Publisher: HarperTeen            Source: won through Inkpop Weekly Challenge (a while ago)

First Look: *****  When I first heard of this, I loved the idea.  Then, over a year ago, I got my hands on both this book, and Carrie Vaughn’s other young adult novel, Steel.  I read Steel first, and wasn’t impressed.  Because of that, I was hesitant to read Voices of Dragons.  Now I’m wondering why I waited so long.

Setting: ***** Our world…but with dragons?  Cool!  I really, really want to live in that sort of setting.  (Actually, I want to live in any setting with dragons.  But that’s beside the point.)  I loved that aspect of it.  It was believable, too.  I also liked that it took place in the mountains, since when I read this I had just gotten back from a trip out west, to those very same mountains. 

Characters:  ***** I liked Kay.  She was a realistic, likable protagonist.  I felt like her reactions were believable—she had the right amount of shock, of sadness, of excitement.  I appreciated her relationship with Jon, too.  Here’s a couple in a young adult novel who don’t want to move fast!  They want to ease into a relationship, and they don’t want insta-love.  And it was so much more believable than insta-love, too.  Why can’t more YA couples be like this? 

Artegal was just adorable, in a draconic way.  I loved his curiosity, and the unique way he spoke and thought.

I couldn’t stand Kay’s best friend, Tam.  She was beyond annoying.  She never shut up about how Kay is too old to be a virgin and should sleep with Jon and everyone’s doing it.  I can’t stand people who talk like that. 

Plot: ***** I liked how it started out small, but soon grew to something much, much bigger.  It moved along at a good pace, pretty fast but yet not too fast.  I liked how the stakes got bigger as the plot progressed, too.  First, the only consequence was getting grounded.  Soon, though, the lives of Kay’s family were at stake, and the fate of the entire USA. 

I wanted to see more of the dragon side of it, though.  We got to see what happened with Kay on the human end, but it would have been cool to see what Artegal went through at home, with his fellow dragons. 

Uniqueness:***** It was a different kind of dragon book, that’s for sure.

Writing: ***** This was the part I was most concerned about, going into this.  I wasn’t at all impressed with the writing in Steel.  The writing in this book, then, was a pleasant surprise.  While it wasn’t spectacular, it did a good job telling the story.  I have no major nitpicks, and I found no typos. 

Likes: I loved that instead of fire drills or lockdown drills, they had dragon raid drills.

Dislikes: Tam.

Overall: I liked this more than I thought I would.  I loved the setting—our world, but with dragons!  Kay was a likable character, and the author did a good job portraying her emotions in a realistic way.  And besides, the book had dragons.  Yay for dragons.  Recommended for fans of urban fantasy, or people like me who just like dragon books. 

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