Ava Richardson leaves me with mixed feelings these days. I think this might be the final trilogy for a while, but I wanted to bring it all to a proper close. It’s time for the third and final book in the trilogy. Keep reading for my Dragon Family review.
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Publisher: Relay Publishing | Date: 2019 | Genre: YA/Fantasy | Buy it here*
Plot: The only way to save Alveria is to end the war—by any means necessary.
After horrendous losses among their ranks, the Untameables are still reeling, none more than Laini Unclaimed. The battles against the forces of Hel have stripped Laini of those she loves most. Now with Hel closing in, little hope remains to save the reincarnated gods trapped in the underworld, including the young man she loves. Until she hears about the Book of Death.
Reportedly created by a powerful Seer, the Book could provide her with the incantations needed to transport her friends back to the land of the living and restore their earthly bodies. However, finding it, either on earth or in the underworld, proves to be a challenge all its own.
When Queen Kaelan returns from the kingdom of Unger, she brings news that the situation has only grown worse. The darkness that engulfs the Alverian kingdom has spread worldwide—and Unger has joined with Hel. Attack is imminent.
Laini must race against the forces of darkness to restore her family and return the light to her dying world. But time is a commodity she no longer possesses. In a desperate bid to end the war, Laini makes a choice that will either save her home or lead to its destruction.
She takes the battle straight to Hel.
I received Dragon Family from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Dragon Family Review
I’ve had mixed feelings throughout the entire Dragon Akademy Untameables trilogy, but I wanted to see it through to the end.
While I’m glad to have stayed with it, I’m also thankful that I didn’t get my hopes too high. As with the second book, this one lacked tension and momentum, despite the stakes involved for the characters and the kingdom. The book – the series – has so much potential but the characterisation of Laini stopped it from reaching that.
The issues I had with her in the second book continued in the third. She’s desperate to protect her family, adamant she will take everything on herself and takes everything that goes wrong as a personal failure. To be fair, I’ve read many characters like that.
My problem was that book one set up a diverse and interesting group of characters that sparked off each other. Laini’s actions means the other Untameables – Thea, Lokari and Frinna particularly – are pushed into secondary characters, denied very little page time and no chance to develop. They’re all in the same situation – it would have been stronger if she allowed all the characters to play their part. That I found Laini’s character annoying didn’t help.
As before, Tyr’s storyline was far more engaging. United with his childhood friend, on the run for survival and trying to help his friends, Tyr’s plot has a good rise and fall of tension, interaction between the various characters and they are all given the chance to prove themselves.
You could have thought first, a voice whispered. You could have not allowed your guilt to control you.Dragon Family by Ava Richardson
Both Tyr and Laini want to take the weight of the world on their shoulders. Tyr learns much earlier the problems with this. Laini waits until the last battle, then suddenly sees what the readers have known all along: her friends need her help, not her protection.
This trilogy helped me pinpoint an issue I had with the last Ava Richardson one I read. I think she’s better at writing male characters. I loved Tyr in this, and when male characters have been her protagonist in the earlier books, they are strong. The last two with female leads have been irritating, even if it is hard to put my finger on why.
There are some big battles that take place this time, with the fate of all the Gods at stake. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed the earlier fights before Laini was present more than the latter ones – which proves the issues I had with her character. There was some clever use of magic though, and it was engaging to see what the Untameables were capable of when they weren’t shoved to the side.
Dragon Family had potential, and it had a satisfying conclusion. I struggled to engage though.
I think this will be the last Ava Richardson trilogy for me. I’d still recommend them to a younger audience wanting dragons, magic and adventure, not to mention finding who you truly are when all feels lost.
Do you ever stay with an author even when you stop enjoying the books?
Also in the series: