Who enjoys dragons with their young adult fantasy? I’m returning back to the world of Ava Richardson today with the second in the Dragon Untameable series to see what this group of powerful teens get up to this time. Today, I’m sharing my Dragon Gods review.
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Publisher: Relay Publishing | Date: 2019 | Genre: YA/Fantasy | Buy it here*
Plot: Loyalty will bind them together—or tear them apart.
Nightfall still holds Alveria in its grip. Terrifying ghosts continue to haunt the stricken kingdom, while crops wither in the fields from lack of sunlight. If the light doesn’t return soon, thousands will starve.
But a worse fate awaits the Untameables.
Laini Unclaimed has revealed the shocking truth discovered after her journey to the hallowed realm: the gods are not lost but have instead been reborn on Earth as mere mortals in order to face their ultimate destruction for rejecting Hel.
The goddess’s bitterness is far too familiar, as the sting of the dragon hunter Tyr’s betrayal remains fresh in Laini’s mind. Yet as her connection to Hel grows, Laini sees the damage that results in allowing the past to infect the present—and she’s determined not to make the same mistake as the vengeful god.
Armed with newfound faith in her fellow rag-tag band of Untameables, Laini and the dragons must track down the rest of the young gods and protect them from the rapidly growing cult of Hel—before the power of their worship allows the goddess to break free from the shackles of the underworld.
As Hel’s threat looms closer, Laini must rise up and fight for those she believes in.
Before all is lost.
I received Dragon Gods from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Dragon Gods Review
Dragon’s Untameable introduced us to Laini’s world: her magic, her friends and her desire for a family. After building the tension in a satisfying manner in the first book, I was looking forward to continuing the story. I have mixed feelings this time.
Laini as a key character still gives me doubts. In some ways, you’re seeing her grow and develop. She’s more confident in her powers and now fights for what’s right. But her growth is stunted: there are random moments where she laments about belonging; worrying over the truth of her bond with the other Untameables. It reads like her emotions could change in a flash if proved they are/n’t technically family, undermining the relationships developing.
There are times when Laini wishes for the adults to come in and take charge: this same girl prepared to risk everything to help in the first book. It’s like her growth is controlled in order for her to flourish in the third part but, for now, undermines away the hero status Laini gained earlier. Which was a real shame!
Tyr remains a favourite. He’s mourning the loss of his mentor and his relationship with Laini, but he’ll protect the girls, whatever it takes, and not because of the threat of execution hanging over him. You see him deal with problems rather than hoping someone else will pick them up, while facing some of the same difficulties as Laini.
It was at the core of who he was, who he’d always been, to protect the defenceless.Dragon Gods by Ava Richardson
Richardson keeps the secondary characters on the side-lines, but you feel for them more. The twins are likeable now they’re not as haughty, and a new prince – Orrin – adds an interesting dynamic into the group. Adding additional people and relationships help you invest more, but I felt they come in fully formed to serve a role, rather than having the potential to advance in their own right. With Laini’s development going in circles, I wanted to see the others pick up that growth.
Characters aside, the structure also caused problems for me. There’s an exciting start, with a real build-up of tension as pieces of the puzzle are revealed. It’s fast-paced, gripping and… stops. A big revelation happens early, and it felt the book lost all momentum at that point. The peak was too fast, and the rest had to work twice as hard and didn’t quite deliver.
That being said, it gets going. This was more emotional than previous Ava Richardson books and you know you’re invested when events make you catch your breath. I’m keeping this spoiler free, but you learn the hard way that you care for the heroes, despite their flaws.
Dragon Gods felt like a classic second book. Characters are introduced and developed just enough to still have the potential to surprise you. The plot advanced to where it needed to be, then pauses for the climax to occur in the final instalment.
It’s an emotional read and presents key themes including accepting where you belong and protecting those you care about, regardless of blood-ties. I look forward to the conclusion.
Are you into Ava Richardson’s books? Or maybe a young adult fantasy reader? Let me know!
Also in the series: