Synopsis: In a time of darkness, unlikely heroes will rise.
The once peaceful kingdom of Torvald has been ravaged by evil magic, forcing Riders to forget their dragons and their noble beasts to flee to the wilds. Now, anyone who dares to speak of dragons is deemed insane and put to death.
Into this dark and twisted land, Saffron was born sixteen years ago. Cursed with dragon affinity and magical powers, she has been forced into a life of exile and raised by dragons—secretly dreaming of a normal life and the family she lost. But as her powers become more uncontrollable, Saffron knows she must find her family before she hurts herself—or worse, her dragon clan.
Scholarly and reclusive, Bower prefers to spend his days reading about the legends of the Dragon Riders—even if being caught means death. But as the son of a noble house on the brink of destruction, it falls to him to fulfill a mysterious prophecy and save his kingdom from the rule of the evil King Enric—yet all he wants is to be left alone to read. When fate brings him into contact with Saffron, Bower gains a powerful ally—but one whose wild, volatile magic threatens their very lives.
Their friendship might just have the power to change the course of history, but when the Dark Mage King Enric makes Saffron a tempting offer, their alliance will be shaken to its core.
Author: Ava Richardson
Title: Dragons of Wild (Upon Dragon’s Breath #1)
Publisher: Relay Publishing
I enjoyed The Return of the Darkening by Ava Richardson so thought I’d continue reading her work.
The books are easy reads; full of magic, dragons and the fight between good and evil.
I read Dragons of the Wild quickly: it’s an entertaining and enjoyable escape for a few hours if nothing else.
Set generations after the previous series, we’re introduced to a Torvald where dragons are nothing more than myths told to frighten children. Speaking of them in other ways – even acknowledging they existed – is punishable by death.
Into this setting enters our hero, bookworm and dreamer, Bower. It’s impossible not to like Bower. He’s clumsy, hopeless and in over his head. But his heart is pure and he alone realises something is not so benevolent about his king. Forced to flee, he leaves behind his beloved books and sets out on an adventure. It’s not as magnificent as he hopes it will be.
It was time for me to stop reading about adventures and start living them.
Saffron has magic: a powerful gift that she cannot control. She leaves her home and family – the dragons – to find out who she is, accompanied by the ever-faithful Jaydra, the dragon she considers a den-sister.
A chance encounter in the woods brings these two together. They have no idea why they stay together: Bower refuses to go to the one place Saffron needs to get to and Saffron will not be held up by an idiot with no idea how to survive.
Fate, however, has other ideas.
The dual narration means the reader witnesses the unfolding friendship from both sides. Saffron feels guilty about leaving Bower as she knows he won’t survive. Bower pledges to help her, even if it means confronting his fears. They have disagreements, they don’t understand each other, but when their friendship is put to the ultimate test, they both prove their loyalty.
I struggled to age the characters for most of the book, which made it hard to relate to them at times. Saffron is also amazingly cultured for someone raised by dragons – the things she didn’t know felt like they were added in to move the plot forward or the excuse for some exposition. An old hermit living on the island who teaches her to read and write felt just a touch too convenient to me.
I also felt the pacing was really slow. Not a lot actually happens for the majority of this book: they traipse around the woods, return to a city and meet a king. Of course, there is magic, dragons and some revelations thrown in, but I kept waiting for something more, something to define them earlier on.
This isn’t a complicated novel. It helped pass some train journeys and I did find myself swept up as it progressed, so that’s good enough for me. Given the slow pacing of this book though, I am intrigued as to whether it was just the set-up for the next books and they will pick up in terms of plot and tension.
I’ll keep reading to find out!