Young dragon Gabrial and young human Ren cross paths, uncover a hidden evil, and unravel a mystery.
Gabrial is excited to battle an older, more experienced dragon for the honor of helping raise Grystina’s new hatchlings, though his second heart belongs to another. During the fight, the mountain Grystina and her wearlings are sheltering in explodes—and Gabrial is unjustly blamed for Grystina’s subsequent death and the assumed death of her son. The narrative switches to Ren, a 12-year old human, who’s fascinated with the “skalers” though they’ve driven his people from their mountain home. Pale-skinned Ren dares to cross the “scorch line” into dragon territory, coming upon Grystina and her wearlings moments before she’s killed. She has just enough time to transfer a part of herself to Ren, who saves her son. What follows is a lot of shady business among dragonkind, though members of both species make rash and illogical decisions. Truths are revealed, but not everyone lives to learn them. Both protagonists can be impetuous but are still sympathetic, and a new character introduced in the final pages promises intrigue in future volumes. The creative spin on the intersection of dragon history and prehistoric humans is interesting and the action engaging.
Enjoyable but not exceptional fare for d’Lacey’s fans and readers of Tui T. Sutherland’s dragon books. (list of characters, glossary)(Fantasy. 10-14)