Author: Ann Coburn
Everyone likes Ellie’s little brother Danny. He’s such a happy, friendly kid. So when he mysteriously disappears, her life veers into a hard quest to find him again, to prove her father innocent as well as restore the life they used to have.
Argent enjoys watching dragons hatch, even though her village bears the creatures no love. Dragons radiate enough heat to engulf anything near them in flames, and when Argent witnesses a baby being kidnapped, her village is more interested in destroying the distraught mother than trying to find the baby. So she sets off on a quest to help the dragon family.
This didn’t work out much like I had expected, and although I suppose that’s good, it made for somewhat frustrating reading. I kept expecting the two stories to cross over, when really the only connection between them is that Danny appears to be hallucinating Argent, and the two journeys have a somewhat parallel structure. So really you have two separate novels told in alternating chapters. One is a fiction story about a girl trying to find her kidnapped brother, and one is a fantasy about a girl trying to find a kidnapped dragon.
I liked the dragon story better, but there was a lot more that could have been done if it had been its own story. Because it’s splitting time with another tale, some of the things I was really interested in seeing more of didn’t get a lot of time. Lukos, for example, explains the process of shapechanging to Argent and pretty much says he thinks she’s capable of it, but she (perhaps understandably) shoves the idea away and wants nothing to do with it. I kept hoping the plot would circle back to that and make it happen, but it never did. Also, the worldbuilding in general could have used more fleshing out. The dragons get most of the focus, but a few other creatures come up near the end and I would’ve liked to see a bit more of them, too. Or at least seen some detail in the towns and the people that make this different from all the other fantasies set in a pre-industrial time.
Overall this isn’t bad, but the split storyline can be frustrating because they have so little to do with each other. I rate this story Neutral.