Author: Ava Richardson
Title: Dragon Magic (Deadweeds Trilogy #2)
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Plot: They must either stand together, or the Kingdom will fall.
The combination of Dayie’s magic and dragon’s fire has halted the advance of the Deadweed. But it is not defeated. Now, a new enemy lurks on the horizon: Water Wraiths sweep in from the sea, cutting their way inland, and assisting the invading plant’s onslaught deeper into the land.
Killing everyone in their path.
The new strategy against the Deadweed has proven effective, but Dayie grows weaker each time she uses her powers. It can only be a temporary fix. When she and her dragon Zarr are invited to train with the High Mountains’ Dragon Riders, Dayie eagerly accepts the opportunity. But it’s far from a warm welcome as the tight-knit riders of the High Mountains distrust the outsider and her unusual power.
When the High Mountains leader suggests a compromise, a schism in the ranks threatens to tear the group apart. The loyal few must convince both dragons and riders of the Southern Kingdom to join forces against the Water Wraiths.
But Dayie won’t be much use to them if she can’t figure out how to balance her magic usage and avoid depletion.
To survive the growing menace, the Dragon Riders must set aside the things that divide them and unite.
Before it’s too late.
I received Dragon Magic from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
After being uncertain about the first book in the Deadweed trilogy by Ava Richardson, I was pleasantly surprised by the second, Dragon Magic.
This young adult, fantasy book is the second in the trilogy, following the adventures and learning curve that previous-slave Dayie and her fast-growing dragon, Zarr, must undertake if they want to help save both their friends and the land from the suffocating grip of the deadweed plant.
The pacing this time was much stronger than the previous book. There wasn’t the scene setting and character development, but instead we enter the book in a fight against the deadweed, with dragons and riders both struggling to understand not only their enemy, but themselves and how they might bond together.
Dayie continues the main narrator but I found it easier to connect to her character this time. Previously, Dayie was over-confident in her skills and could come across as arrogant and self-righteous. While there are still moments where she reacts in nonsensical ways (suddenly believing everyone is against her because she is a girl, despite there being no evidence this is the case rather than her lack of experience), she also accepts how little she knows about her own magic.
A total and uncompromising love. A loyalty that was seared to my soul in ways that I would never be able to understand, or ever live up to. But the heart of a dragon, when given, was given totally and completely.
Dayie goes on a journey – both literally and metaphorically – this time. She pushes herself and starts to learn more about who she is and what she can do. It made her far more than just a girl fortunate enough to be bonded to a dragon. There are still irritating moments, but her motives were easier to understand: she cares about the South, not just proving herself.
I was right thinking Akeem had a bigger role to play. You discover his true lineage and understand what drives him. While seeming to brim with confidence, you see his vulnerabilities and his helplessness at not being able to protect his people. He also has a deep bond with his own dragon and the warmth and love portrayed between the two of them shows a relationship much further along than Dayie’s own with Zarr.
The threat is stronger this time: deadweed is moving faster than anyone can stop it. It is accompanied by Water Wraiths; soldiers formed from moisture, paving the way for the plant to grow. With there seeming to be a consciousness behind the enemy, the battles become personal and the sense of danger increases.
The heightened sense of peril gives the characters a chance to grow and develop. While there isn’t nearly as much of the secondary characters, you see them start to connect with the dragons. The relationships with the leaders of the kingdom also hints towards an alliance and a stronger union by the end of the trilogy, with this starting to show that this is possible.
While I still believe these are books that are aimed at a younger audience, I could engage with this second book a lot easier than the first. I genuinely felt invested in the characters, and look forward to the next one.