No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished
Young Adult / January 21, 2017

Heartstrikers #3. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: When Julius overthrew his mother and took control of his clan, he thought he was doing right by everyone. But sharing power isn’t part of any proper dragon’s vocabulary, and with one seat still open on the new ruling Council, all of Heartstriker is ready to do whatever it takes to get their claws on it, including killing the Nice Dragon who got them into this mess in the first place. To keep his clan together and his skin intact, Julius is going to have to find a way to make his bloodthirsty siblings play fair. But there’s more going on in Heartstriker Mountain than politics. Every family has its secrets, but the skeletons in Bethesda’s closet are dragon sized, and with Algonquin’s war looming over them all, breaking his clan wide open might just be the only hope Julius has of saving it. (Published summary) My Thoughts: Julius has changed a lot since we first met him. Remember, back in Nice Dragons Finish Last, his niceness wasn’t exactly a philosophy – just his personality. He was just the runt of a litter, getting kicked off his computer for not being blood-thirsty and ambitious…

Empire of Ivory
Young Adult / January 16, 2017

Temeraire #4. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: Tragedy has struck His Majesty’s Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England’s shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons’ ranks–forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected–and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France’s ever bolder sorties. Bonaparte’s dragons are already harrowing Britain’s ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual Content: Mating is arranged between dragons (actual mating takes place off-screen). Unmarried woman discovers herself pregnant, later marries the father. One character asks a woman to marry him, with the context making it obvious that they sleep together. Language: 43 d***, 1 hell, 1 F- Violence: Dragon shot…

Crucible of Gold
Young Adult / January 15, 2017

Temeraire #7. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: For Laurence and Temeraire, put out to pasture in Australia, it seems their part in the war has come to an end just when they are needed most. But perhaps they are no longer alone in this opinion. Newly allied with the powerful African empire of the Tswana, the French have occupied Spain and brought revolution and bloodshed to Brazil, threatening Britain’s last desperate hope to defeat Napoleon. And now the government that sidelined them has decided they have the best chance at negotiating a peace with the angry Tswana, who have besieged the Portuguese royal family in Rio—and thus offer to reinstate Laurence to his former rank and seniority as a captain in the Aerial Corps. Temeraire is delighted by this sudden reversal of fortune, but Laurence is by no means sanguine, knowing from experience that personal honor and duty to one’s country do not always run on parallel tracks. Nonetheless, the pair embark for Brazil, only to meet with a string of unmitigated disasters that force them to make an unexpected landing in the hostile territory of the Incan empire, where they face new unanticipated dangers. (Published summary) Content Review: Sexual content:…

Blood of Tyrants
Young Adult / January 14, 2017

Temeraire #8. Author: Naomi Novak. Summary: Shipwrecked and cast ashore in Japan with no memory of Temeraire or his own experiences as an English aviator, Laurence finds himself tangled in deadly political intrigues that threaten not only his own life but England’s already precarious position in the Far East. Age-old enmities and suspicions have turned the entire region into a powder keg ready to erupt at the slightest spark—a spark that Laurence and Temeraire may unwittingly provide, leaving Britain faced with new enemies just when they most desperately need allies instead. For to the west, another, wider conflagration looms. Napoleon has turned on his former ally, the emperor Alexander of Russia, and is even now leading the largest army the world has ever seen to add that country to his list of conquests. It is there, outside the gates of Moscow, that a reunited Laurence and Temeraire—along with some unexpected allies and old friends—will face their ultimate challenge…and learn whether or not there are stronger ties than memory. (Goodreads summary) Content Review: Sexual Content: Two dragons mate off-screen. Dragon worries about his captain marrying, so another dragon suggests concubines. Language: 7 d*** Violence: Men swordfight, then wrestle. Brief altercation between…

Seriously Wicked
Young Adult / January 6, 2017

Seriously Wicked #1. Author: Tina Conolly. Summary: The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one. Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch. Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school. Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance. To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch…will that mean she’s wicked too? (Goodreads summary). My Thoughts: Extremely quirky, fluffy read. It’s set in a fairly normal town, with an average highschool. Boybands, punk kids, arguments over prom – the works. But Cam’s home life is a little bit… different. It’s silly fluff, but honestly…

Victory of Eagles
Young Adult / January 2, 2017

Temeraire #5. Author: Naomi Novik. Summary: It is a grim time for the dragon Temeraire. On the heels of his mission to Africa, seeking the cure for a deadly contagion, he has been removed from military service – and his captain, Will Laurence, has been condemned to death for treason. For Britain, conditions are grimmer still: Napoleon’s resurgent forces have breached the Channel and successfully invaded English soil. Napoleon’s prime objective: the occupation of London. Separated by their own government and threatened at every turn by Napoleon’s forces, Laurence and Temeraire must struggle to find each other amid the turmoil of war and to aid the resistance against the invasion before Napoleon’s foothold on England’s shores can become a stranglehold. If only they can be reunited, master and dragon might rally Britain’s scattered forces and take the fight to the enemy as never before – for king and country, and for their own liberty. But can the French aggressors be well and truly routed, or will a treacherous alliance deliver Britain into the hands of her would-be conquerors? (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Dragon character is sent to the mating grounds, where dragons out of service live and breed….

Dragon’s Blood
Middle Grade / Juvenile , Young Adult / November 21, 2016

Pit Dragon Chronicles #1. Author: Jane Yolen. Summary: Jakkin is a bondboy, a situation similar to indentured servants of old – right now he’s basically a slave, but he’s paying off his debt piece by piece. But the quickest way to make enough gold to do that is by stealing a dragon egg from the nursery where he works and raising it to fight in the rings. If Jakkin wants his freedom he’s going to have to steal a dragon egg, hide and feed it, bond to it, and train it to fight – all without being discovered. My Thoughts: Well, the tone was strange. I believe it’s considered both ya and middle grade, but the constant references to prostitutes seem out-of-place for such an age range. I liked the concept of dragons bred and trained to fight in ring-fights: not one I’ve seen before, but quite logical. But I really hope Jakkin is going to get his come-uppance from Akki, because the attitude towards girls is quite strange – the final scene where Jakkin determines to ‘master Akki’ threw me off more than anything else in the book. Since Akki is determinedly independent, I can see this going different…

Black Powder War
Young Adult / October 27, 2016

Temeraire #3. Author: Naomi Novik. Summary: Picking up where book two left off (in China, Macau) Captain Will Laurence and his extraordinary dragon, Temeraire, are ordered to retrieve and escort a precious cargo of valuable dragon eggs from Istanbul to England. They take the Old Silk Road from China to Istanbul, crossing deserts and mountains. En route to England, they help the beleaguered Prussians battle Napoleon. (Goodreads summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Man is scandalized by a girl bathing with boys: she says (innocently), she “hasn’t started bleeding yet, and any way I would not like to go to bed with any of them.” Dancing girls “dressed indecently” in “near see-through pantaloons” perform. Two men endeavor to see the emperor’s harem, and make “beckoning gestures” to them – later punished. Dragon says “I do not think they have breeding grounds here; at least, I and Mei did not have to go-” before breaking off. Later, he indirectly says he was pleasuring himself- (Captain: “Did you have a pleasant bath?” Dragon:” Oh, yes; those rocks were very nice, although it was not quite as nice as being with Mei.” He goes on, confused at the man’s startled reaction, “Well, do you…

Throne of Jade
Young Adult / October 27, 2016

Temeraire #2. Author: Naomi Novik. Summary: When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo–an unhatched dragon’s egg–Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces. Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands–and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, Laurence has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East–a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: It just gets better. We started with British Airforce Dragons; now Novik has moved on to multicultural work. The Chinese dragons aren’t just dragons owned by a different nation, they have a well-developed and very different culture, and it’s fun to see this so well-written. Content Review: Sexual content: Spoken mention of two dragons courting. An implication…

Escaping Peril
Middle Grade / Juvenile / October 16, 2016

Wings of Fire #8. Author: Tui T. Sutherland. Summary: Peril has been loyal to Queen Scarlet, who used her fatal firescales to kill countless dragons in the SkyWing arena. Now, Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend. So when Scarlet threatens Jade Mountain Academy, Peril sets off to find her former queen, stop her, and save the day, no matter what it takes. There’s just one problem: a strangely persistent SeaWing, Turtle, insists on coming along, too. Turtle is worried about his friends, who left to search for Scarlet and haven’t returned. Peril is worried that she might accidentally burn Turtle — or burn him on purpose, for being so annoying — and frustrated that she keeps saying and doing the wrong things. She can’t escape her firescales, and she can’t escape her reputation as the deadliest dragon in Pyrrhia. So when she’s offered a chance to trade everything for a second chance, Peril has to decide who she’s really loyal to . . . and whether her own scales might actually be worth saving. My Thoughts: The Wings of Fire series seems to be aiming higher in its age range, and the…