One Good Dragon Deserves Another
Young Adult / October 5, 2016

Heartstrikers #2. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: Julius finally has his own magical business, in partnership with his human friend Marci. He’s happy to settle down there and never see the heartstriker clan again – but Bethseda is finally interested in him. His involvement with the Three Sisters has made him useful, and she’s not letting him disappear. Soon, Julius realizes he can’t try to back out – his clan needs him, whether or not he likes them. Mysterious attacks on high-ranking dragons, Estella’s suspicious co-operating, and the appearance of Alonquin’s dragon hunter adds up to more trouble than even Bob the seer can manage. Especially when futures are dropping off the map, whole trains vanishing completely. Can Julius and Marci find the future they need… and how much are they willing to trade for it? My Thoughts: I think this was even better than the first book, with more character development on all the minor characters. Very enjoyable, with fast-paced plot, intriguing characters, a well-worked out world and a good sense of humor. Content Review: Sexual content: One scene opens with dragon-woman in bed, grumping because her “young lover” is up and dressing “before noon”. Female dragon shapeshifts to human,…

Dragon’s Bait
Young Adult / September 19, 2016

Author: Vivian Vande Velde. Summary: If Alys really was a witch, as she has been accused of, she would cast a spell on her accusers to save herself as they leave her tied to a stake for a dragon. But she isn’t, so there’s nothing she can do but wait for her doom. It comes in the form of a golden-maned dragon, but instead of carrying her off he lands in front of her and transforms into a man. Alys may have a second chance at life… but will she spend it on revenge, or seek escape from the old life? My Thoughts: The characters felt a little flat. None of them were quite three-dimensional, except perhaps the protagonist. The message at the end also felt a little forced – I’d been expecting it from the beginning, but in a rather different format, not a straight statement from the protagonist. Despite this, I did enjoy Dragon’s Bait. It was a fun little story, the (slightly forced) thesis was at least a good one, and I frankly enjoyed the dragon. Content Review: Sexual content: Some low-level flirting. Male dragon takes human form to speak to a girl – unfortunately, this leaves…

Winter Turning
Middle Grade / Juvenile / September 6, 2016

Wings of Fire #7. Author: Tui T. Sutherland. Summary: Winter has been a disappointment to his royal IceWing family his whole life. When his sister, Icicle, runs away from Jade Mountain Academy, fleeing terrible crimes and possibly planning to commit more, Winter knows that they both need a second chance to make things right — if only he can find her. Winter’s new clawmates, Moon, Qibli, and Kinkajou, won’t let him make this dangerous journey alone. They don’t seem to understand that IceWings, the most superior of all dragon tribes, can fix their own problems. When their search leads the dragonets straight into Queen Scarlet’s vicious talons, Winter is grateful to have some help. But even the bravest dragons can’t follow him to the Ice Kingdom, where he’ll have to face the greatest threat of all: his own family. My Thoughts: I had forgotten why I keep reading these middle grade books! While having a high level of violence possibly unsuitable for younger readers, they are never very graphic. The characters are interesting, with back-stories and dilemmas and character growth, the plot is fun, and the pace never slows down. An excellent action-adventure read, like the rest of the series….

Dragon Champion
Young Adult / August 25, 2016

Age of Fire #1. Author: E.E. Knight. Summary: After escaping those who killed his siblings, Young Auron, a rare, defenseless gray dragon, might be the last of his breed. Armed with nothing but his claws and a determination to survive, he sets off in search of his kind. But to find other dragons-or, at least, find out who’s killing them off-Auron will have to search a world of mercenary elves, vicious humans, and dangers of all kinds. Finding allies in the strangest places-and himself along the way-Auron is about to make the trek of a lifetime. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Tracking Auron, a rare grey dragon, from his birth through his life Dragon Champion is reminiscent of Watership Down, the Warriors series, and Redwall. The setting is very classic-fantasy, with elves, dwarves, kings and dragons, but E.E. Knight puts a new spin on it with his draconic pov. The dragons as a species are very well developed. Even though Auron doesn’t know all the lore and traditions, he knows enough to give us an outline, and we can see the absence of what he couldn’t learn from dead parents. Not the fastest paced book, but I really enjoyed it. Content…

Middle Grade / Juvenile / August 23, 2016

Wings of Fire: Legends #1. Author: Tui T. Sutherland. Summary: Three dragons. One unavoidable, unpredictable destiny. This is the beginning… of the end. In the SeaWing kingdom, a young prince learns he is an animus — capable of wonderful magic that comes with a terrible price. In the mind of a NightWing dragonet, a thousand futures unfold — and almost all of them, she knows, lead to disaster and destruction. And under three full moons and the watchful eyes of his NightWing mother and IceWing father, the most powerful dragon Pyrhhia will ever know is clawing his way out of his egg. Darkstalker, the dragon who will change the world forever. Long before the SandWing war, lifetimes before the Dragonet Prophecy… darkness is born. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: Darkstalker continues the best tradition of the Wings of Fire series, with well-rounded fascinating dragons, intricate connections, and laugh-out-loud moments in the midst of blackness. (And, yes, the apparent tradition of disturbingly violent images. How does “cut your own tongue out” get into a middle grade book? I don’t know.) We’ve got a split view point, with Darkstalker, Fathom, and Clearview. Sutherland finally answers the question of what seeing the future clearly…

His Majesty’s Dragon
Young Adult / August 21, 2016

Temaraire #1. Author: Naomi Novik. Summary: Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire. (Goodreads summary.) My Thoughts: I definitely enjoyed this alternate-history. It has a steady, calm pace and is told in the historical-novel writing style. Napoleonic war + dragons = awesome. Content Review: Sexual content: Passing mention of harbor prostitutes, and the fact that training men may go to them on their nights off. Dragon comes into his first ‘season’. A dragon-rider with a daughter mentions she is not married; this turns out to be common among dragon riders due…

The Color of Magic
Adult / August 10, 2016

A Discworld Novel. Author: Terry Pratchett. Summary: The Color of Magic is Terry Pratchett’s maiden voyage through the now-legendary land of Discworld. This is where it all begins — with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind. On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There’s an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist if you believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet… (Published summary.) Content Review: Sexual content: Three instances of innuendo. Passing mention of young women and dryads wearing next to nothing. Language: 7 hell, 5 bloody, 4 d***, 1 derogatory term Violence: A tavern fight takes place. Two instances of characters being knocked unconscious. One character receives minor burns from a dragon.

Dragon Keeper
Adult / August 3, 2016

Rain Wilds Chronicles #1. Author: Robin Hobb. Summary: Too much time has passed since the powerful dragon Tintaglia helped the people of the Trader cities stave off an invasion of their enemies. The Traders have forgotten their promises, weary of the labor and expense of tending earthbound dragons who were hatched weak and deformed by a river turned toxic. If neglected, the creatures will rampage–or die–so it is decreed that they must move farther upriver toward Kelsingra, the mythical homeland whose location is locked deep within the dragons’ uncertain ancestral memories. Thymara, an unschooled forest girl, and Alise, wife of an unloving and wealthy Trader, are among the disparate group entrusted with escorting the dragons to their new home. And on an extraordinary odyssey with no promise of return, many lessons will be learned–as dragons and tenders alike experience hardships, betrayals . . . and joys beyond their wildest imaginings. (Published summary.) My Thoughts: A richly complicated fantasy world with real problems and people. The dragons’ plight was truly moving – trapped in malformed bodies through no fault of their own, they have all the memories of their ancestors, and know exactly what they’re missing and how they are deficient….

Here There Be Dragons
Middle Grade / Juvenile / July 25, 2016

Author: Jane Yolen. Summary: A lovely collection of dragon stories and poems, some fairy-tale, some original, and some verging on the eerie. Most illustrated beautifully. Content Review: Sexual content: A boy trades kisses with a girl so she’ll give him food. A hinted-at off-screen make out. Language: 2 d***, couple of made up terms. Violence: Everything is fairly non-graphic. A man is killed instantly by a dragon. Various animals killed by the same animal, and we are told it stole an infant. Dragon burns alive. A dragon fight in which neither is severely hurt, but there are some wounds.

Nice Dragons Finish Last
Young Adult / June 15, 2016

Heartstrikers #1. Author: Rachel Aaron. Summary: Julius Heartstriker has just been tossed out of his parent’s home, where he spent most of his time in his bedroom online. He’s in the big city now, with a job offered by his older brother – searching for a missing person. All this sounds quite normal. Julius, however, is a dragon. He may quite literally be killed if he doesn’t accomplish this task, a last chance to prove himself, and the runaway he’s hunting for – a dragoness – will be enspelled and dragged back to her home. Julius had better shape up fast and figure out which way his life is going, with help from a feisty human-mage, (no, she’s not my human, mother), his mysterious seer brother Bob whose predictions come true 80% of the time and are un-understandable 100% of the time, and another brother, Justin, the brawn of the outfit. My Thoughts: A fun, fast-paced read. The characters are distinct and interesting, from our main character – an unfortunate nice dragon born into a savage brood – to the FMC, with her dangerous past and determination and distinctly quirky housing and work arrangements. The setting is also unusual and vivid;…