Review #357

This YA standalone fantasy got a 4.95/5 stars for me. Written in one point of view, the author did an amazing job with setting, prose, character development, love interest, mythical creatures, and more! 

Here’s my live thoughts while reading:

 The setting and descriptions are vividly painted in both the prologue and first chapter. I can hear the beat of the dancers feet, hear the guitar, and smell the arena. Zarela’s mother, an entertainer, dies from an accident when a dragon escapes and scorched the crowd at one of their shows. A year later Zarela has taken over her mother’s role as dancer despite everyone wishing she was the original, not the daughter. 

The dragon index at the beginning is super appreciated and I love the creativity. I can’t help but wonder if the author made them up or if the names are from her culture’s myths. 

I love how much Spanish vocabulary and language is used right away which pulls me into their livelihood even more. 

A year later, another unfortunate event happens that injures her father. She doesn’t know whether he will live or die along with the dozens of other victims. And the masters in charge of their arena may shut down her family business. Where did the escaped dragons go and what will she do next? 

When she goes to check on the dragons and figure out the first step to run the arena in her fathers absence, Zarela learns all their remaining dragons have been killed. Who did it? It can’t be the protestors that stand against animal cruelty. So, is it the opposing side of citizens who blame her family for the accidental deaths at the event? Now she has nothing left of their investment and may be losing her father too. I really have no idea where the plot is going which is great. 

Without the experience or knowledge she’s having to make decisions about the welfare of their future and family name. But someone has sabotaged their arena. Why? Who? How will she fix it? 

I wasn’t sure if there’d be a love interest at all but on page 71 there seems to be a meet cute of a hate to love trope. I’m excited!!!

Ooh the fire resistant grass cloak is a turning point between them!!!  

At the halfway mark I’m loving the slow building chemistry and also the suspense of who is out to get them… 

Oh man, I love how much she cares about saving others and her courage. They seem to have a doomed future. How will they overcome this mob?!

Oooh I’m so glad one of my predictions about forced marriage didn’t come about in this plot. 

Eeeek this book was marvelous. Spoilers ahead: the only reason it didn’t get a 5 stars was because a) she had no real time to grieve her father and that scene felt rushed and flat AND b) I never fully related to her motivation to save the arena since she valued it more than her life. I respect her for it but it was hard to relate to. This book was fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed the second half.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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