Voices of Dragons-- Book Review
I've been wanting to do some book reviews for a while now and I figured this would be a good place to start. I picked this book up on the clearance table at a local bookstore and I must say, it's one of the best bargain books I've found in a long time. What caught my eye? Why, the dragons of course! I can never resist a novel with dragons.
Voices of Dragons, a Young Adult novel by Carrie Vaughn, stars typical teenager Kay Wyatt from small town Silver River, Montana. She's the daughter of the town sheriff and a member of the Bureau of Border Enforcement.
The book is set in an alternate reality after World War II, in which the atomic blasts from the nuclear bombs woke up long-sleeping dragons from their underground caves. When the dragons emerged, it began another war, this time between humans and dragons. Eventually a treaty was agreed on and the past sixty years have been peaceful.
The Bureau of Border Enforcement, where Kay's mom works, monitors dragon activity because Silver River is the closest town to dragon territory. Dragons live in the northern areas of the world including Siberia, the Arctic Circle, and the Rockies.
There has been no contact between dragons and humans since the treaty was signed. Until, that is, Kay goes rock climbing where she shouldn't one day.
After climbing dangerously close to the border, Kay is tired slips trying to cross the Border River only to be fished out by a young dragon. Naturally, Kay is terrified of her rescuer.
The dragon doesn't do anything like roast her alive or eat her as she expects. Instead, he speaks! Kay finds out that the dragon was taught to speak human languages by his teacher, a rare thing in his world. It turns out his teacher was one of the original dragons that agreed to the treaty and since his teacher left, the dragon has been curious to know more about the humans.
Since Kay can't pronounce the dragon's name, he chooses a different one out of The Faerie Queene, which is one of several human books he has. Thus he is dubbed Artegal.
The first half of the book is a bit slow. This isn't a nail biting, sitting on the edge of your seat, staying up till three a.m. to finish it kind of book, but it is interesting nonetheless. The first half is only slower paced because it focuses on the friendship and learning going on between Kay and Artegal as they talk and read books together and Kay teaches Artegal how to speak better. It also shows the usual high school love questions and friendships that Kay has in her life.
Once their friendship has grown, the dragon and girl begin to uncover a deeper plot going on in the government concerning the dragons. That's when the book begins to pick up and you want to know what happens next. The Bureau of Border Enforcement gets involved, as well as the United States government, and Kay suddenly finds herself caught up with forces much greater than herself.
Overall, I'd give this book four out of five stars. It's a good Young Adult novel, nothing too fancy or overly different, but very interesting and a great read. Also, I'm a huge fan of dragons so anything that's decently written and features one, I'm all over it.
I took away a star simply because of the beginning slowness. It wasn't terrible and dragging, but could have rolled along a bit faster had Vaughn expanded her point of view and let another character's perspective show. After all, it was in third person, but she focused solely on Kay. Not a bad thing, just could have been even better.
The ending was great though and left me wanting to know more. I sincerely hope there is a sequel. Though there isn't currently one out, the sources I have found suggest that Vaughn will be writing one in the future, though she seems to be focusing on a sequel to her debut novel, Steel, first.
I wish her the best and hope to see the sequel soon. Until then, I believe I'll be tracking down Steel to add to me 'Must Read' list.