“One day after the emperor had died and been eaten, the call went out to select his successor.”
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.
Can we just appreciate how beautiful the cover of this book is, and the fact that it has the word dragon in the title. If that doesn’t make you want to pick this book up then I literally don’t know what will! It was certainly the deciding factor for me.
Okay, I don’t know how I feel about this book. I will think about it at one point and love it, and then think about it at another angle and not like it as much. This is a good book, it really is. But there were some factors that didn’t quite satisfy me which makes me sad. I was sold on this based on the fact that it had been compared to Game of Thrones. Okay, there is a fight for the throne, and dragons. For me, it ends there. I did get very heavy Hunger Games vibes and also Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire vibes. Now both of those are something that I love, so definitely not a bad thing. I feel like Jessica Cluess, whether she realises or not, has dipped into other book favourites and put them altogether whilst still making a very unique story. Despite similarities, I don’t think i have ever read a book quite like this one.
The characters, I liked them. The first 5 chapters of this book had me so so excited for each of the main characters. I could not wait to get to know them, I knew their backgrounds I just wanted to know more. I feel like they were quite bland. I did want a little bit more development from them. We do get more, but maybe not enough for me. What I did like is throughout the whole book I didn’t really know who to trust. Lucien was my favourite character, apart from the dragons of course, however even at times I didn’t know whether I wanted to trust him. Same goes for the other characters. This is a factor I did enjoy, it certainly made sure I was on the edge of my seat for the entire 450 pages. I would have also liked to have seen a bit more drama and competitiveness. The stakes are high, but at times it certainly didn’t feel like that. I dunno, maybe it was just me but I definitely wanted more tension from the characters, especially during their trials.
The dragons were brilliant. It is a well known fact that dragons are my favourite mythical creature and if I know a book has dragons in I will most likely read it. I did enjoy this aspect. There were so many dragons. They made me laugh, but they also made me cry. If you know, you know. I am still broken, despite it maybe not being what it seemed, it still hurt … it still hurts!
The writing style was good, at times it lost my interest slightly and I would have to go back and read what I had missed a few times. That may be my concentration issues, however I do feel sometimes I wasn’t as engaged. I noticed that the author refers to bad people/things as “cancerous/cancer”, which I can deal with but I didn’t like. I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t sit well with me. I feel like the phrase was used a fair amount at the start and again at the end but not really in the middle so it was something that I could forget about. I also wasn’t a big fan of the use of the phrase “and then”, I don’t think it really added to the suspense, I felt myself urging the plot to continue. But like I said the writing is good, I did like it, just maybe a few things got on my nerves and once I noticed it I could not “unsee” it.
The last 25% of this book really picked up and I could not put it down. I liked the reveal/twist which I didn’t really see coming. I really liked the ending and it has definitely made me want to pick up the next book. It may not be a new favourite but I did enjoy it and I am intrigued to find out what happens next.