Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Firebolt (The Dragonian Series, Book 1) by Adrienne Woods

Title:  Firebolt (The Dragonian Series, Book 1)
Author:  Adrienne Woods
Genre:  Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Fire Quill Publishing
Release Date:  September 19, 2014

From the Back Cover:

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.

Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.

Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.

Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

My Review:

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. To start, I had some difficulties getting into the book initially. It started with quite a bit of action -- a dragon attack -- but the writing was choppy and hard to follow along. I had to actually reread the scene two or three times because at first, I thought there were just two dragons fighting... but then later realized there were more. But we never found out what happened with those other dragons. They just... seemed to disappear. Nothing more was written about that.

Once I got through the beginning, the premise of the story looked really promising and I wanted to learn more about the world. Unfortunately, I never felt as though I really connected with the main character. She seemed rather one-dimensional and bland. The book seemed to focus more on her daily activities... she went here, learned this, went there, learned that... rather than getting inside her head and experiencing the world through her eyes. Not only that, but I kept getting caught up on grammar issues and the weirdness with descriptions/word usage.  Maybe this book was written for a younger "Young Adult" audience because it seemed the book was a bit more rudimentary in terms of the writing. Not only that, but the main character (Elena) seems a very young sixteen. If I had to guess, I would have thought she would have been closer to 13 or 14.

Once our main character (Elena) arrived in Paegeia (and Dragonia), the book took on an almost information-dump quality. The world-building would have been solid... The author obviously did a great job crafting the world, the different types of dragons and their abilities, and even the history of the world, but the execution was somewhat lacking. It was difficult to keep all the names straight when everything was handed to us as a big history-type lesson. This was frustrating because I think the story would have really been really good if I could have connected with the characters or if I had been shown the world, not told about it.

The last part of the book was significantly better and there was quite a bit of action. Although, for the life of me, I have absolutely no idea why on earth the main character got it into her head to go on this big "quest" in the first place. It just seemed so bizarre and out-of-place based on everything we knew about her up to that point. Plus, her party of friends tagging along was even more odd. They were all against this plan... most of them didn't even like her... but they all wanted to go along with this idea of hers? I just had some trouble with the logic.

Aside from that, I was excited about the fact that we finally had some action and more of a story going on. Although, the entire last part of the book was a little too... familiar. I won't give any spoilers away, but the entire scene from the mysterious cavern quest Elena goes on has been done before. Somewhere. I've been trying to place it, but just can't. Maybe it's a little too closely tied to mythology? Or a little too close to some video games I've played? Or some other fantasy books? Either way, the cavern scene lacked in originality and that was something of a disappointment. I kept shaking my head and saying, "Wait. I've seen this before."

The book series is definitely setting up for a reveal of some future events (and has been since the very beginning). The hints the book dropped from the beginning were pretty obvious (to the point that I was surprised they weren't tied up in this book). I'm hoping that they aren't as predictable as they seem and we're in for some actual surprises in the future.

Sadly, I probably won't be continuing this series. While I think the premise is promising and I love most everything having to do with dragons, I would have preferred a main character that I can identify or connect with. The romance was somewhat forced and there weren't any tingles there (we were just told it existed and the boyfriend was another bland "perfect" prince-type). This book just wasn't for me.

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy provided by NetGalley with the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

I live in South Africa with my husband and two beautiful daughters where I write full time. The Dragonian series is my debut novels and Dream Casters is my second series with book two getting ready for release.

I love life, cherish every special second of it and live my dream.

I write many genres under many names, so be sure to visit my webpage if you want to find out more.

Author Links:
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