Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teen Fiction Tuesday: Voices of Dragons

Voices of Dragons, by Carrie Vaughn

Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 309
Reading Level: 14 and Up
Enjoyment Level: Dragons!

If a title has ‘dragon’ in it, I’m more than likely going to pick it up. If it has ‘nice’ dragons in it, I’m more than likely going to love it. So, no surprise here that I enjoyed this one thoroughly.

Kay lives in a world where dragons are segregated from humans. The beasts live in isolation deep in the mountains, but it’s within sight of Kay’s home town of Silver River, where her father is the Sheriff and her mother is a high-powered official. There was a treaty made between the dragons and humans sixty years ago: dragons would disappear, and humans would leave them alone. When Kay goes climbing and has to be saved by a dragon, that treaty is put to the test and Kay’s life changes forever.

Carrie Vaughn is one of those adult-type writers trying her hand at writing for teens. Sometimes that actually doesn’t work out very well, but in this case, the experience of writing for adults seems to lend a certain sophistication to the characters and plot of Voices of Dragons. This elegant story doesn’t have the edgy feel to it that a lot of others in this new category, but because of the maturity of the main character, I’d go ahead and classify this as “New Adult”.

The plot is wonderful. It takes on a hard theme of intolerance and puts it into an interesting perspective by twisting it between humans and dragons. Carrie Vaughn has done a wonderful job giving us a plot that is believable and understandable by really telling it how it is: intolerance is always on both sides of a conflict.

Not only is the theme done well, but the characters are amazing and well-grounded. Kay approaches her struggle with grace, and yet with the reaction that I would expect from a young girl whose world is turned around.

And, of course, the dragons take my breath away. There is a great amount of mythology wrapped up in this setting of a modern-day world. It’s wonderful to see how well my favorite monsters fit in (and I want a dragon even more now!). I could compare this book with Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven. Both are exquisite and full of magic and life.

I can recommend this book without hesitation, although parts of it do get a little slow (mostly parts where there aren’t dragons, so I guess I’m just biased). This book will appeal to both readers of general teen fiction and of fantasy teen fiction, and there’s enough action for both male and female readers.

Until next time, go read something!

~ Vilate

(On a side note, I'm giving away free copies of the first episode in my short story series, The Undead Crimefighting League. If you want one, email me at vilate@yaliteraturereview.com.)

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