By Niina Paasikallio
At eighteen most teenagers have a lot to get used to. Ryan was no different. Everything was normal for him with a sister, Amanda, and two loving parents. But all of that changed one night when he was left alone. What came afterwards no teenager would ever be prepared for. He became a dragon.
Right away I was hit by the author’s writing. It was clear, detailed, and at times, long-winded. This may sound like a complaint, but it’s not. Long sentences with many modifiers and clauses are no problem, and I particularly enjoy them. In fact, I tend to write similarly. But, I know what complaints I’ve received about my writing, and I hope—as one author to another—she will be careful. Many out there are not of the same ilk or don’t have the same appreciation for it. One sentence uniquely exemplifies this:
He squinted his eyes and finally saw the door, taking a few unsure steps toward it.
Besides that, her premise is interesting and could have a lot of potential. The story and worlds she’s created are unique and she has enough characters for many future plots, but a lot of the faults may work against it.
First off is POV. The beginning of the story was the best for me mainly because we only see Ryan, so everything is painted in his perspective. However, as soon as Amanda, his sister, enters, the POV jumps back and forth. Ultimately, this creates the effect of being tossed around on a rollercoaster. Every time I get situated in one direction with one POV, I get jerked around, heading the opposite way. If this were under control the whole flow of the narrative would improve.
Second, the dialogue is weak if not nearly absent for most of the story. So much of this book happens in the character’s heads or in quick summaries of important discussions that most interactions are menial. Take only the dialogue from the beginning of Chapter Three:
“A dragon? Seriously?”
“That’s not possible.”
“You saw what happened. You remember this happened to you last night. Was that not possible?”
“It is true.”
“So he’s like…a real dragon.”
Sadly, this is how most of it plays out, despite my hopes for it being better.
I guess when it comes down to it: the real test of a book is whether or not the reader wants to skims. There are two reasons for this. One, the story is so riveting we want to find out what happens. Or two, the descriptions and wording and characters are so heavy-handed that we hope eventually something will happen. For me, this book was the latter.
Though my critique might sound bad, I obviously gave it a three-star rating. This is due to the fact that the writing wasn’t necessarily poor, but that the presentation was sorely in need of an overhaul. There were elements in the story that showed promise and seemed that with a little more time might shine more brightly. As it was, most of the side characters seemed flat, especially Ryan’s sister and Sor’Enia—though the latter became more interesting later on. In any case, a two-star book makes me cringe at its childish quality. I did not feel that here, rather, I was let down by the promise in the first chapter. I hope, if there is a sequel, the author kicks everything up a notch.
If interested, you can find the book here.
Or, check out the author’s website here.