Opening line: I stretched my hands over the dragon eggs, focusing all my concentration on their indigo shells, and murmured the incantation.
My reaction: Umm excuse me, did you say dragon eggs?
Blah blah blah we’re walking we’re walking blah blah blah tiny house dragons blah blah blah climbing mountains. I’m so conflicted over how I feel about this book. Here’s the thing, there is so much potential here. The concept for this book was amazing and so unique I was incredibly excited to read it but when I got to the end I was just like, is that it? So many promises were made in the beginning so I thought this was going to be a fast paced epic adventure and it just ended up being sort of boring at times.
For example, early on in chapter two there is this passage:
The only two survivors of the expedition- both of whom had died before I was born- wrote of black crevasses hidden beneath the snows, of ferocious storms and blizzards, and of sheer walls of ice hundreds of feet high. The mountain was said to be the abode of monsters, and cursed by spirits as ancient and unyielding as the glaciers.
COOL RIGHT? I will tell you this, our protagonist runs into every single one of those things, so the author does deliver on her promises, buuuuuutttt the execution was a bit meh. Overall, I liked the story, even though Kamzin is a bit annoying at times. The setting is spectacular and the author worked as an archeologist so the descriptions of the landscape is gorgeous and spot on but the story itself was lacking. There was a lot of traveling going on with no sense of real danger or urgency and missed opportunities when it came to character development.
****Spoilers after this point****
WWWHHHYYYY GOD WWWHYYYY?!!! So many great ideas in this book that were never fully fleshed out!!! GAAHHHH!!! Okay, let’s start with characters, main players include:
Tem- Best Friend
River- Royal explorer/love interest
Ragtooth- Kamzin’s fox
Other characters that I had to look up their names because they are so insufficiently developed that I forgot about them:
Mara- Dude that runs off with Lusha
Dargye- Moody guy
Aimo- Moody guy’s sister
The last four characters were clearly just written to be casualties on this little adventure. The more that I read critically I’m starting to really hate when authors do that. Including cardboard cutout side characters just so you have disposable people to kill off is just lazy writing. I cared more about Kamzin’s fox, Ragtooth, than I did about any of the four minor characters in this book. What is the point of having them there? Either make them significant or kill those darlings and use the word count to give more lime light to the characters we actually care about. Do not throw underdeveloped characters into your story only to kill them off, it’s annoying, and readers see right through it. For example, Aimo, what is the point of her? If you wanted the readers to be shocked by her falling suddenly to her death then you should have given her and Kamzin background. Why not make them friends? They don’t need to be best friends like her and Tem, but at least friends, not just some woman from the village. My frozen heart felt nothing when she died and later when Kamzin was all upset about it I was like….why?
Okay, main characters, I know I sound like a broken record but there was some SERIOUSLY missed potential here. For one, the whole perfect older sister and annoying little sister thing was just that, annoying. Kamzin’s baby sister fits made me dislike her character. You wanna be treated like an adult Kamzin? Then stop acting like a whiny baby who stomps off and pouts. I actually did sympathize with her when her sister was around up until the point where she stomps off and has a fit. No wonder Lusha treats her like a baby!
Speaking of Lusha, I love the fact that she has two badass familiars. But also, why the heck was she not around for like 75% of this book? Wasn’t the whole point that they were racing one another to the top of the mountain? I feel like this would have been better if they were actually just competitive sisters literally racing up the mountain than just having Lusha on this doomed to fail attempt to beat the Royal Explorer to the top of the mountain. Girl isn’t even good at climbing. Smuh.
Speaking of Royal Explorer’s, RIVER! River was the best part of this whole damn book. Tem was annoying as hell and so was Kamzin so honestly the only reason I made it to the end was because of River. Even though, I must say, the ‘big reveal’ was so freaking obvious I figured it out by chapter nine. If I were the author of this book, this is what I would have done, I would have made TEM the witch! Everyone would have suspected River for the entire book because he’s the new guy so obvs he’s the witch right? WRONG. Tem, who was left on the doorstep of his father’s house as a baby, was raised as a human in a small village until he figures out that he has powers. He is contacted by his witch mother when the witches get wind that the Royal Explorer is coming to Tem’s village to lead an excursion to Raksha and the sky city. To help the witches regain their powers, Tem convinces Kamzin to let him tag along, even against her wishes. BOOM!
That would have been a GREAT twist! The whole time we would have all suspected River but when Kamzin shows up at the Sky City and instead finds TEM that would have been awesome! But no, predictably it was River and our Kamzin/River ship sank. Wah Wah.
Finally, I touched on this a bit but I will say it one more time, I felt like the pacing was horrible in this book. So much description of scenery as they were walking, which was nice, but there was no real sense of urgency and after awhile I found it a bit boring. This adventure should have been one disaster after another but instead is was like: walking walking walking oh look a blizzard walking walking walking oh no bird people walking walking walking. When it should have been: walking OMG EPIC BLIZZARD THERE GOES HALF OUR SUPPLIES hiking OH CRAP BIRD PEOPLE ATTACKING running running OH $#@! BLACK PITS HIDDEN UNDER THE SNOW!! Less walking, more action, that’s what this book needed.
Overall, I did LIKE it, I did not LOVE it. I might read the next one, but I’m not dying to get my hands on it.
Until next time, here’s a quote from the book:
“It's a dangerous path you're following."
I gave a short laugh. "There are no safe ones, where we're going." Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett