release date: September 7th, 2010
hardcover, 336 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: provided by publisher for review
A hidden truth. Mortal enemies. Doomed love.
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
Review: As someone who's read fantasy stories all my life, I wondered where all the dragons had gone. Wondered when we would start seeing them pop up again in the YA fantasy genre. I love dragons, have always loved them! Usually we see them in fantasy as the supporting characters, or the beast who carries the hero off to his various victories. Sophie Jordan has given them the starring spotlight they deserve with the start of her Draki series.
This was an amazing read, and despite the fact that I would have loved to see the story delve more into the actual lore of the dragon and how the Draki came to be, it was beautifully written. I would love to see this one go to the big screen---the first scene alone would be more than worth it: the gorgeous sunrise, the main character, Jacinda's manifestation into her dragon form, two dragons forbidden flight through the skies, and finally the appearance of danger on the horizon. It would a breathtaking opening to a movie! But as a book, by the third page, my imagination was just soaring.
The family thread of this story had my emotions in a whirlwind. Each member of Jacinda's family had their own side of the story and I literally could not take a side. Jacinda was treated differently among the Draki tribe because she was the only fire-breather in 400 years. She was being matched with the leader of the tribe to make the tribe stronger and while she didn't hate him, they had been friends their whole lives, she resented being forced into it. So when she gets into trouble for breaking a "sacred tenet" and is about to be horribly punished (details aren't given on what that punishment entails until later in the story), her mother sneaks Jucinda and her sister away in the middle of the night. Jucinda's sister, Tamra, is ecstatic at this move. She never manifested and so she was treated like an outcast among the Draki tribe. I completely understood Jucinda's mother's actions and Tamra's eagerness to start fresh somewhere else. While Jucinda is a little relieved to not be under so much pressure and expectation as she was in the tribe, she cannot see how she can be herself anywhere else. She is even more devastated by the fact that her mother intentionally moves them to a dry hot desert, a place that she knows will kill off the Draki in Jucinda. Despite the danger it puts them in, she is not ready to let her Draki side die, it is part of who she is. While I can see each of their sides, the way each acts on her feelings is pretty extreme and not just a little selfish! It doesn't make the story bad, it adds conflict and they definitely have some room for emotional growth throughout the series! I flip-flopped between being sympathetic to and angry with all three of these characters in turn--it made for a good emotional read!
The love story was a very original take on the classic Romeo and Juliet theme: their families are enemies, or in this case, the hunter and the hunted. Will is at odds with his family's "business" of hunting dragons. Still, Jacinda takes a great risk in being around him despite the fact that she knows what he is. She is drawn to him because of their first mysterious meeting and I thought the whole dragon-thing made an excellent metaphor for falling in love for the first time. The whole idea that being near him made her Draki side come alive to the point that she would almost manifest into a dragon every time they kissed gave their relationship a lot of intensity. While I don't want to give too much away, I will say that I found the "big moment" where she opens up to him so incredibly...sweet. :)
Definitely get your hands on a copy of this one and enjoy!
Visit Sophie Jordan's website HERE.
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