In this allegorical tale, debut author Chew creates a magical world of mayhem that’s full of parallels to modern society.
As the story opens, a dragon named Khaajd transforms herself into a young girl with striking green eyes and enters a human village, where she’s named “Lyssa.” She listens, follows, adapts, and her old life fades away as she lives among humans for 22 years. However, a shocking event—the death of her own dragon mother—rips her back into reality. Specifically, it exposes the hard truth that in a war between humans and dragons, she must choose to fight on the correct side. To that end, she shifts back into dragon form and devises a plan to learn the vulnerabilities of the human world, in order to aid the dragons in their fight. An exciting tale of deceit ensues as Khaajd transforms into Lyssa once more and pretends to live among people in order to develop a battle strategy. As the story twists and turns, the war between humans and dragons grows more intense. Chew also infuses the novel with clever social commentary regarding materialism and disparity of wealth in society. For example, Khaajd explains to a fellow dragon, “Give a dragon a promise of good food, clean water, a sheltered cave and the health of his body, and he will be happy....Give a human the exact same but no more, and he will be wretched. Humans seek happiness through things.” These nuances encourage a complex understanding of both sides—the human side, which fears dragons and misunderstands their desire to attack and demolish, and the dragon side, which views humans as the real monsters. The author successfully builds a rich world, fueled by fine dialogue and vivid descriptions, and never lets his high-concept themes overpower the action.
A fast-paced, intellectual fantasy story with lessons about values, greed, and empathy.