****I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review****
“Dragonsoul” is the story of Denyth and Littlehorn, a boy and his dragon, as they grow together in a land without color. Everything Denyth has ever known has been gray, his entire world and everyone in it is devoid of color. Those who speak of color, who show any signs of color, are arrested or executed by the king’s men. Then Denyth finds Littlehorn, a creature of myth, but also the last dragon, who isn’t gray like everything else, but a sparkling, and dazzling blue. A costly mistake on Littlehorn’s behalf forces Denyth and his dragon to flee his family and home in search of answers, and a safe place to live in a world where everything about Littlehorn means the king’s knights want him dead. Despite the intriguing concept of this story, the writing seems better suited for a middle-grade audience instead of young-adult, and even then, it’s not a perfect fit.
Karadjian sets up a really intriguing concept with this bland world without color, it even has flavors of the book series “Eragon” and the movie “Dragonheart” in them: a farmer boy finds the last dragon egg and the two become inseparable, the last dragon is blindly being hunted by the king’s men. At first, it sets some really high hopes for the book that, unfortunately, just fall a bit short. As Karadjian continues to create his mythical world, that feels like a bit of a mash-up of other classic fairy-tales and their creatures, you always just get these little glimpses of these interesting creatures but then they are gone after their brief introduction and it felt like a bit of a waste of a character. These creatures may appear in later books in the series but even so, it felt a bit wasteful and therefore came off as unnecessary.
“Dragonsoul’s” main characters start off with the promise of being these complex people that would have been so wonderful in this world of gray. The idea of human’s succumbing to the Gloom and what it produces in them is so interesting at the start that, adding an additional layer of complexity with these multidimensional characters, would have been a breath of fresh air, but it just never really happens. Zero has the most promise in this regard but then, at the end (and this isn’t a spoiler, don’t worry) Zero starts acting out of his established character. His epiphany’s and character development sputters, then stalls, and what would have been this amazing character arch falls flat, which makes it all the more disappointing because it was so close to being amazing! Additionally, the explanations for the Gloom and why dragons are hunted were set up to be this big secret, setting-up for this big reveal with a twist, that when it finally comes, and none of the set-up pans out and the explanation behind all the characters becomes overly simplistic… it felt like a bit of a letdown.
With the writing and the character development ending the way it did, I do really think this book would be better suited for middle-grade readers. I’d even say younger but there is some action and violence that may not be completely appropriate for younger readers. There’s nothing wrong with middle-grade reads, I just was expecting (and hoping for) something more young-adult with this story. Which is disappointing because I really wanted to love it! The synopsis and the cover make it sound so interesting, which is why I’m giving it a 3, but there’s nothing wrong with a 3 either! If this was billed more for that younger audience, I’d probably have rated it higher but the “surprise” was not the one I was hoping for, and with the ending, I’m not sure how this series will continue!
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