The fourth book set in Draconia introduces 15-year-old Aster, a headstrong young lady who is seeking purpose in life. Her father is a carpenter, and Aster is slated to start an apprenticeship that will train her in the same art. She has other ideas, though, and enters the Pathfinder Academy, a program designed to help youngsters find their true callings. It is quickly apparent that Aster possesses strong dragon magic and the gift of telepathy. She is also drawn to the history of Draconia when she discovers information about the nation’s past that was doomed to be forgotten. In the middle of her research, Aster uncovers facts pertinent to the future survival of Draconia and the magic that inhabits her world. She befriends a dragon named Jasmine, who has chosen to live in isolation following the loss of her dragon rider. Jasmine and Aster form a powerful bond and become a team, encountering unexpected allies with unique gifts, including a powerful mage, a gryphon and a seer who happens to be a bear. Along the way, Jasmine begins to heal from her loss and helps Aster come to terms with a betrayal in her own family. Meanwhile, dark magic threatens Draconia, and only Aster and Jasmine possess the strength and knowledge to save the country. Purpus has the material for an engaging magical tale focused on family and forgiveness. Her characters are appealing and relatable, modeling behavior that Purpus’ young audience will hopefully find attractive. However, Purpus spends too much time hashing out Aster’s family problems and Jasmine’s angst over her lost rider, failing to build adequate suspense around the existence of dark magic. The possible presence of a black magician is revealed nearly two-thirds of the way through the book, leaving only 100 or so pages to find the culprit and bring about a resolution. As a result, the climax feels unfortunately rushed.
An on-trend fantasy novel that may please fans of Purpus’ previous work, though it lacks a wider appeal.