Book Review: Dragon Bonds by Ava Richardson

Dragon Bonds 1

Synopsis: The Darkening has risen… 

Agathea Flamma and Sebastian Smith now face an overwhelming enemy. The rapid spread of the Darkening, a threat arising from the mists of legend, looms over the entire land. With both their families torn apart by the conflict and betrayal lurking around every corner, one mistake could doom the kingdom.

They’ll have to decide where to put their faith: blood ties or newfound friends?

After the destruction of the Dragon Academy, it’s up to Thea and Seb to gather their loyal comrades—and forge uneasy new alliances—to quell the ancient menace and face the evil Lord Vincent. With civil war raging, the Dragon Riders must race against time to find the legendary Dragon Stone, the only tool they have to fight against the endless darkness that threatens to swallow them all.

Author: Ava Richardson

Title: Dragon Bonds (Return of the Darkening, Book 3)

Publisher: Relay Publishing

Date: 2016

Dragon Bonds 2

Dragon Trials | Dragon Legends

Dragon Bonds is the final book in the Return of the Darkening trilogy, bringing to a climax the fight between the Dragon Riders and the evil Lord Vincent. This book, more than the others, focuses on loyalty and family, and how blood ties aren’t necessarily what holds everyone together. There’s betrayal, reconciliation and the need to risk everything to defeat an unstoppable evil.

I’ve enjoyed the trilogy. It has magic, dragons and destiny. It’s about accepting you can be more than the world sees. But even this final book still felt like it missed its true potential.

The characterisations cause the biggest problems for me. Despite the development in book two, Thea still views herself as being privileged. She spends most of the book acting like she is the only one who sees what is truly happening and is in a position to do something about it. This attitude stops her from fully connecting with Seb. The barriers constructed in book one should have been torn down by now, but there is still a distance between them.

So I was the only one in the unenviable position of both knowing how strong and determined the king could be, as well as being able to see when he was acting like a stubborn brat who wanted his own way just because.

Seb has been my favourite throughout and he didn’t disappoint in this one either, despite acting like he knows best most of the time and making decisions that could cost him his life. He is just as rash as his partner, but has a good heart. Seb will do anything to those he is loyal to, but his loyalty and respect isn’t easily bought.

Their lack of true connection undermined the entire book, even the trilogy for me. For example, in this book, they spend half of it arguing over the right course of action. One or the other has all the power; there is no balance in their skills. It’s only the very final fight that they actually work together and combine their talents. Considering their supposed close relationship, this didn’t ring true for me.

The pacing was fairly steady, despite this being the final in the trilogy. There isn’t much of Vincent and you only see the effects of his powers rather than actually see him doing anything drastic. There is still a lot of searching and seeking answers, just as in the second book, which undermined the tension and meant I was ready for the action by the end rather than highly anticipating the final confrontation.

Dragon Bonds 3

That being said, I have enjoyed this trilogy. It is a fairly easy read and has some strong elements in it: characters are, in general, likeable and believable and there is a bad guy who is easy to hate. There are also dragons, ones who have no qualms telling their humans they are pathetic if they want to. It has several things that work for it.

If you’re after action-packed, strong fantasy with superb characters, this isn’t the book for you. If you want something fun to read with a bit of magic on the side, then Return of the Darkening might be the one. The books are all fairly quick reads as well.

Goodreads | Amazon


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