This is a nice gentle little story, easy to read and much shorter than the average work of fantasy. It has the usual type of magic which can do almost anything, it has elves, goblins and dragons, and a little bit of history, with a war in the past, now ended. This is very much a traditional fantasy, where most people are good-hearted, the villains are evil, and the heroes are required to overcome all adversity so that good will prevail. Not too much gritty realism here, although the goblins do get up to some pretty despicable things.
So, the plot.
Fifteen-year-old Elody has just become a dragonmage, by bonding with a
newly-hatched dragon, which will power her magic. Her seventeen-year-old
brother Rinn failed to bond with a dragon, but has his own innate form
of magic. And there are goblins on the rampage, provoked by an elf
wizard for his own reasons, who is also killing off dragons. And that’s
about it as far as the plot goes. The world-building is fairly sketchy,
since we only see one small village and its surroundings, and it’s all
rather twee, but the magic system is nice, and very well described.
not sure whether this is meant to be YA or not. The main protagonists
are fifteen and seventeen, but in fantasy that doesn’t necessarily mean
anything since over the length of a trilogy or more a fifteen-year-old
can become seriously mature. However, there is a simplicity to both the
story and the writing style which suggest a younger audience.
Personally, I prefer something with a little more complexity to it,
whether of plot or characterisation, but such things are a matter of
taste, and later books may well develop that complexity, as is common in
My biggest complaint concerns
the two main protagonists. As teenagers, a certain amount of petulance
and wilfulness is normal, but these two really are downright stupid
sometimes. Time after time they get into trouble because they simply
won't take advice, or do the obvious sensible thing. Elody does a lot of
crying and Rinn rushes around with over-optimistic levels of bravado,
they have to be rescued frequently, and both of them whine a lot. It
makes them seem a lot younger than their stated ages, and in the type of
simple agricultural community where they live, I really think they
would both have grown up a lot more than seems apparent here. But when
they do display a modicum of common sense and formulate a plan with the
help of useful adults, the results are quite effective. I think the
author was aiming for a pair of charmingly immature kids who are then
forced to grow up rather quickly, but for me the charm got rather lost.
is not a complicated book, but then it's also quite short. It's
straightforward traditional fantasy with some nice dramatic moments and a
good climactic encounter, reasonably well written, with few typos, and
for those who like this kind of thing, it works fine as a pleasant
undemanding story. I found it a little too simplistic for my personal
taste, however, and the two protagonists too tiresome by half, which
keeps it to two stars for me, but there's nothing wrong with it. In
fact, I suspect that later books in the series, if Rinn, Elody and her
dragon grow up a bit, might be very much more interesting.