Plot/Idea: Agnew crafts a lively, dynamic tale of magical creatures intertwined with human hubris. The first of a series unfolding in a fantasy realm, the plot races from the first pages, picking up speed as it careens through stories of half-mythical humans fighting to protect their own in the face of potential destruction.
Prose: The novel’s prose is suspenseful and efficient, reminiscent of classic fairy tales in many places. Agnew skillfully creates tension across the storyline with powerful descriptions and subtle set-ups that will firmly capture the attention of readers.
Originality: Devising a plot that both unites humans and mythical beings and casts them against each other at the same time is creative. Agnew delivers believable worldbuilding that adds to the story’s effectiveness.
Character Development/Execution: Kael’s transformation into an otherworldly being may be the initial fuel for the plot, but Agnew allows nuanced symbolism to filter in, delicately hinting at more substantial issues beneath the surface. Some characters arrive at their fate more predictably than others, but readers will appreciate the relatable development they undergo along the way.
Date Submitted: April 27, 2022
Agnew creates a rich mythology of the power of dragons and of the truth about the War of the Black Ash. As Arius teaches Kael how to fly and breathe fire as a dragon, Kael learns that Severn and Siah, the partnered dragon leaders, actually wanted peace with the humans. Kael is dismayed by humans’ lust for war, ulterior motives, power, and greed. He has a decision to make in his new life: Where does he fit with the Dragonsown? He is torn between his two ancestral families—his father’s grandfather Kelton hated and killed dragons, while his mother’s grandfather Darragh befriended the majestic beasts.
This expansive fantasy world provides fervent readers with an undersea city, invisible dragons, merfolk, and battles with fire breathing dragons. Kael and Keaton are likable brothers who work together to right wrongs. There’s also heart, acceptance, and overcoming animosity to understand others. The text at times can be dense, but it’s vivid and exciting—and builds to a twist. Fantasy readers will eagerly look forward to more adventures in the Dragonsown series.
Takeaway: A fast-paced fantasy with the magic of dragons that tugs at the heart and provides a message of understanding.
Great for fans of: Garth Nix, Leigh Bardugo.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-