Americans face a terrifying threat.
Teen Melissa Anne Callahan lives in a not-too-distant America where dragons mysteriously arrived one day and started destroying towns (sometimes even eating humans). Her mother died in a dragon attack, so she doesn’t question the danger. After a late night of “dragon hunting” with thrill-seeking classmates, Melissa is accused of insurgency—just before her town is attacked, and she finds herself living among the insurgents and dragons she has been raised to hate. She soon realizes that the humans-vs.-dragons situation is not as clear-cut as the government and the media had led her to believe. She also discovers that she is one of the rare humans gifted with the ability to communicate telepathically with dragons. McCune’s debut starts off with great promise, as readers get to know narrator Melissa and this terrifying world (an allegory for America’s treatment of “terrorists,” perhaps?). The story starts to unravel as the book moves from “Part I: Kissing Dragons” into “Part II: Reconditioning.” Ultimately, its early potential devolves into a chaotic mess, derailed by ambition (a trilogy’s worth of plot in just over 400 pages) and gratuitous dragon torture. Left with a score of largely unlikable, unengaging human characters, readers may reach the abrupt ending hoping that the dragons are the only survivors.
Intense but unsatisfying. (Science fiction. 14 & up)