Reviewed by Ian Lipke
Violet Sorrengail, who has never been completely well all her life, had planned to join Basgiath War College as a member of Scribe Quadrant, where she would have had a better than even chance of surviving her training period. However, her mother, a commanding general, has ordered her daughter to enter the Riders Quadrant, a position that is highly coveted but has a very high death rate. Only the best can survive. When you have a body that is brittle, death is most likely. Furthermore, Violet will have to win over a dragon, and dragons don’t bond to fragile humans, they incinerate them. Moreover, a ruthless wingleader both loathes and lusts after her. Xaden Riorson must work with Violet although her mother executed his. The result is a book with heart-pounding action.
The world is an entirely new world and Yarros’s creation is a masterpiece. Every segment is laid out clearly and compellingly, and although it is a magical world it is easy to understand. Like her world, Violet is multi-dimensional. No matter the challenge, she rises to it. She makes mistakes but learns from them. They are mistakes that are extremely human and readers find them easy to forgive. Violet does what she does not only because she is forced to but because she wants to prove herself to her mother. As Violet reveals, ‘It knows I’m at a disadvantage, though I’m too small to climb its foreleg and mount, too frail to ride. Dragons always know. But I will not run. I wouldn’t be standing here if I’d quit every time something seemed impossible to overcome. I will not die today’. She has an older, very supportive sister, and a brother who appears to have been killed in battle. Yet his presence is never forgotten.
Each minor character is introduced and fleshed out just as the main ones are, so that we identify with them and are upset when they pass from the scene. A great strength of the book is the strong romantic relationship which develops between Violet and Xaden. It moves at just the right tempo, a slow burn that will not be denied. Theirs is a love story that is both believable and attractive to the reader. Readers burn with envy when they find themselves absorbed in the love scenes; they are brilliant.
The book is thrilling from page one to the end. It grips the reader and will not let him go. There is a huge number of twists and turns each almost as compelling as the main one and it is not until you have finished the book that you realise that all along the author was orchestrating the events.
Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and coffee addict. She is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels, including The Last Letter and The Things We Leave Unfinished. She’s also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward. Rebecca loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for over twenty years. A mother of six, she is currently surviving the teenage years with all four of her hockey-playing sons.
By Rebecca Yarros