4 out of 4 stars
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Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia is a fantasy novel about the rightful rulers of Fra’anior, trying to regain power after a successfull coup by Ra’aba. Both sides have dragons to help. The story revolves around Hualiama, a royal ward, called “Lia” for short. It is set in a crater which was made by the impact of a comet. The dragons raised islands into the clouds and kept the bad gases contained below by the use of magic. The name of this place, as you might imagine, is Cloud-Islands.
Lia was taken captive during the coup by Ra’aba and was being transported by dragonship to an internment camp. While attempting to escape, Lia finds herself in a sword fight with Ra’aba. During the fight, Lia was badly wounded and then thrown overboard.
Flicker is a green dragonette, he manages to save Lia, and they become close friends. He introduces her to Amaryllion, the last of the ancient dragons, who sets her on the path to find what she needs to reinstate her family as the rulers of Fra’anior and get revenge on Ra’aba.
I really loved this story. Often in stories with dragons in them, they are cast as evil and everyone is trying to kill them. In this story there are dragons on both sides of the conflict working with humans and it is us humans that are portrayed as the inferior species. I found this concept fantastic, mirroring my own thoughts on how dragons would be. The story is fast paced with lots of action scenes that really jump out and grab the reader by the throat.
The story follows Lia almost exclusively, detailing her interactions with many dragons and lots of people. I found her character to be well thought-out, and her back-story was very pertinent to the story and well covered. Though I did think she acted too mature for a 15 year old. The other characters fared less well with back-stories, but I didn’t think the story suffered any because of this.
At the start of the book, the author provides a map of the Cloud-Islands. I found this to be very helpfull during the story, as Lia travelled between many different Islands in the pursuit of the knowledge and training that she required. These locations truly came to life in my imagination as the author described them so well. However, he also mentioned several new fruits but didn’t really tell the reader what they were like.
The one thing I didn’t like about this story was the inclusion of a prophecy. Why do these types of stories always include a prophecy? Can the authors find no other way to justify a sequel? That being said, it is only a minor gripe of mine. The book itself appears to be very well edited with only a few grammar mistakes. There were also a few occasions where the author contradicts himself. For example, Ra’aba commands two of his men to throw Lia overboard. Then he does it himself.
All that being said I want to give this book 5 or even 6 stars, as it was so good. Unfortunately, I can only rate this as 4 out of 4 stars. Anybody who loves dragons will find this book an excellent read, and I believe that anyone who likes fantasy books would enjoy this too. I may be biased, but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book. I’m reading it again as I enjoyed it so much, and then I shall go on to read the rest of the series.
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