**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
Ah, how do I put this lightly. This book was cheesy, to say the least. Think Harry Potter meets Twilight with dashes of medieval times. Needless to say, I felt like the author was trying too hard with this one. Ask anyone, Harry Potter and Twilight don't mix.
First, I would like to comment on the cover of the book. I really liked it. It was part of what inspired me to read this book. That and the summary. It captures the story perfectly and was just the right kind of cover to capture the eye of readers as well.
So let's start with aspects I didn't like. There was too much telling and not enough showing. The author would just say that something was and everyone (characters) would automatically believe it. But then later, she would show something that completely negated what she had said earlier on.
I felt like a lot of times the story line got way too cheesy for my taste. Like "Oh! Rafe!" was a bit too much for me. And while I'm all for a knight in shining armor, Rafe's character definitely felt too good to be true. And - for the record - I called him on being the crown prince like a long time ago.
Another problem I had was the naming. Now, I'm a huge supporter of weird names. I like the unusual and always have. However, there were some names in this story that I couldn't shake. Two, in particular, kind of sat wrong with me because all I could think about was Disney. 1) Aurora. Now this one didn't bother me too much because they called her "Rory" for the majority of the story, but all I could think about was Sleeping Beauty. The other Disney flashback was 2) Morgana. First, she was playing the villain and with a distinctive name like Morgana, all I could think about was Ursula's evil sister from The Little Mermaid II. Like, I literally was waiting for some underwater ice cave to pop up out of nowhere. Other than that, some of the names were just really hard to pronounce and I kept getting tripped up on them, but that's nothing new for me. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm pronouncing "Cassia" right (and yes Ally Condie and I'm looking at you).
Now, every person in this book just seemed to go along with the crazy. Aurora would explain something to them and they would be like "Oh, yeah, you totally have my trust." I kept waiting for one of them to turn on her (besides the obvious like Damien and Leticia). But no, everyone was so cool with everything, even once they found at she had like fae-mage powers.
And that brings me to the parallel between Harry Potter and Twilight. Obviously the mage aspect of the story with a special mage school just screamed Harry Potter to me, but in a definite cheesy voice, because it didn't fit right in this world. The fae part reminds me of Twilight because I've learned that fae seem to be the new vampires. Like Stephanie Meyer who altered the vicious version of vampires into these sparkly fairies (yes, pun intended), the author chose to ignore the more vicious side of the fae that I've kind of gotten used to, and made them happy powerful people. It took me a long time to warm up to fae in my beloved novels. But as long as they like killing people, I'm totally good with it.
(I would like to make a note that I do not hate Stephanie Meyer or her vampires or Twilight! That is the book that got me reading again and I owe my gratitude to that woman!)
As if the magical folk in this book couldn't get even more outlandish, the author has this pegasus. I like flying horses as much as the next eight year old, but in a YA novel, I expected more from the horse. Like, why couldn't it spit fire? While Snow, the pegasus, was probably one of the more badass characters in this story, when she talked, all I could hear was this majestic lady voice that was even more prestigious sounding than the dragon in Eragon and that dragon was a badass.
Literally, this book reminded me of drunk college girls on a very basic level. It was like, if one person said, "Hey! I'm a fae-mage!" Everyone else would shout, "I totally support you!" in a high pitched squeal that would have everyone sober within a five-mile radius covering their ears.
However, the story at its bones was good. I liked the concept of a strange new world with a girl who discovers she's heir to a throne and has all these powers she has to control, plus that forbidden romance blooming. It's the bones of most YA books, which is why I appreciate it. There definitely could have been more done to it to enhance the book. The meaty part was lacking. The execution of the storyline could have been better. Maybe all it needed was the right eye to look at it and help the author, because I feel like this story definitely had potential.
The Last of the Firedrakes is the first installment in this series, and I will probably read the rest just because I want to know how this story ends and it was a quick read. I also look forward to seeing how this author's writing grows the more she writes and the more books she puts out.
Writing is a process, I know, and I hate judging books when I realize how much effort an author has put in to this story. I appreciate that. I didn't fill those pages, the author did. But I promise honest reviews and I would be betraying that promise if I sugar-coated everything I wrote.
And that is all I have to say on The Last of the Firedrakes. I hope you like what I discovered, as I read this book from cover to cover!