Dragon Gabrial and white human boy Ren return in this sequel to The Wearle (2017).
The book opens with a dramatis personae that primarily defines females by either their beauty (Grendel), weakness (Gayl), or marital status (the majority of the human women). The prologue then introduces the “black dragon” myth that explains that “no dragon can be completely black” because Godith, the female dragon god, doesn’t like black dragons. The linkage of blackness with negativity is deeply unfortunate. In the myth, when one of Godith’s sons (accidentally) kills the other, Godith’s punishment is to crush his heart and leach him of color...but he doesn’t turn white, as one would expect—he turns black, thus earning him the name Tywyll, meaning “the darkness.” In the present day, a mysterious stranger, Ty, arrives in Ren’s town on a unicorn. Though many villagers are initially suspicious, he inexplicably and near instantaneously gains clout. Elsewhere, hotheaded Gabrial and Ren are as reckless as ever, except now they both have a responsibility to two orphan wearlings. Over the 300-plus pages of the book, the plot unfolds predictably, with a twist at the end that guarantees at least one more volume.
With problematic tropes and stereotypes, little character development, and a poorly paced plot, this one is for fans of the first book only. (Fantasy. 10-14)