Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Sun Dragon by Annabelle Jay

The Sun Dragon
by Annabelle Jay
Pages: 180
Date: January 28 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Series: The Sun Dragon (1st in the series)

Rating: 4.50 out of 5.0
Read: January 28 2016

*I received this book from NetGalley in return for a fair review.*

This is another book by an author I'd never read before that I somewhat randomly picked up from Netgalley when I saw it in one of the categories as a 'Read Now'. Not sure which specific category I saw it in, though. Young adult, LGBT, Fantasy, just not sure.

It's also one of those kinds of books wherein if someone told me the plot, or gave me a rough outline, I'd probably think I'd want nothing to do with the story, and/or that it'd be absurd, or out of the range of books I like, or . . . something. So it's good, in its way, that I had a good enough idea of what the book was about to try it, but not enough to cause me to flee before trying it. Because, despite believing that others might feel differently, I rather enjoyed this book. Though it has all the hallmarks of being something that might normally annoy me.

This is one of those first person type books, with the main character being a young woman named Allanah.

Allanah is a young woman of roughly 16 years of age who starts off the book as a student at a school. I am unsure if her last name is given, nor if she's in high school or not. Though I assume both sets of information might have been given at some point. She's shown instantly as being a flighty kind of woman, the kind who spaces out, starring at a blade of grass, or clouds, or the like and forgetting to focus on what's around her and what she should be doing. Like, say, getting to class on time.

Allanah is described in the book as something of an odd mix of spacey, unable to keep her grades up, naive, inexperienced type of young woman who ends up showing massive amounts of magical skill. Mostly instinctively. And one who seems quite capable of pulling forth solutions to problems. An odd mix.

For the most part, Allanah is the only character that really matters in this book. Though there are others with varying levels of importance.

Victoria is a prim and proper young woman with great intellectually ability. The kind to be class president and straight A student. She’s also best friends with Allanah. Oh, and unknown to her, she’s also a dragon in human disguise. Revealed when she starts to shift one day in class. She has her important moments, and is quite important in certain pivot points, but as a character, is something of minor importance. If I’m conveying this correctly. Maybe if she had her own point of view for people to follow, her importance would be heightened, but beyond being a dragon, and being helpful as such, and being a friend of Allanah’s, and also being helpful as such, she’s really kind of unimportant to the story line.

Jason is a young man of roughly Allanah and Victoria’s age. The book opens with Allanah lusting after him. But apparently he is actually something of an undercover agent for a magic counsel, there to watch over Allanah. And is even less important than Victoria. Really really unimportant.

Cormac is the next man Allanah crushes on. He is a general for the magic counsel, and they – Cormac and Allanah, have a certain connection. Is something of a hot head. Again important, but minor.

Grian is a light dragon Allanah summons when she is tested by the magic counsel. The dragon bonds to Allanah and follows her around.

Roland is a magic user and super evil. Wants ultimate power.

Dena is the reason this book falls into the LGBT category. She’s a female who Allanah meets while she is living with the Igreefree people. Dena stumbles out all bloody and stuff, they touch, they realize they have this deep connection, and now Allanah has to determine if she prefers the man or the woman. I’m being quick there – they don’t literally touch the first second they meet. Though the connection is there the first second they touch.

Others: there are, of course, other people in the book. Some more important than others, some less.

The book opens with Allanah spaced out, standing near the entrance to her school. She's saved from her third tardy slip by two factors - her best friend, Victoria, offers to give her the hall pass she had, and more importantly, as it develops, everyone is distracted once Victoria and Allanah reaches the class room. The president's on the tv, see, so, as I said, people are distracted. He looks different, though, than Allanah recalls him looking. Then he starts stripping down to ropes. Weird stuff starts occurring, and the words out of his mouth are equally weird. He's calling forth the dragons to come to him.

Well, this certainly is odd, eh? Book opened with a prologue talking about how there's this Prince Roland guy who said he took care of the dragons, but didn't really. But it's told in a way to indicate this occurred longish ago, and now everything is modern looking. As in planes in the sky, televisions in the class rooms, etc.

Back to the gibberish coming from the television. President whatever reveals that he is actually King Roland come forth to take over the world. With his dragon army. Who he had hid among the humans, since he had transformed them into humans. Suddenly screeching is heard - people look outside, a half boy half bird/dragon like creature is wiggling out there, then springing up into the sky, heading towards this President slash King Roland dude.

Suddenly squeaking and yelling in the classroom. Victoria is looking odd. Instinctively Allanah orders everyone else to leave. Without knowing what she is doing, Allanah is able to keep Victoria from transforming into a dragon.

Victoria, Allanah, and Jason (who, it is revealed, is a guardian like guy for Allanah) head off in a magical mustang to the magic counsel (Mustang as in car, not mustang as in horse; they do not climb inside a magical horse). For various reasons I’m confused as to why Jason had been sent off to be a guardian since, if I recall correctly, he is only a level two. I might be confused. Well, magical eggs are put into Victoria’s and Allanah’s hand. Victoria’s egg opens. She learns she’s a level two magic user. Allanah’s egg opens. She learns she is a level five magic user. And now has a pet dragon. Who came out of the egg. And she’s the only person to have a dragon appear in a really really long time. That other person? Roland.

So – several parts to this book. Quite quick from one to the next with almost no rest. There’s the shifting at the school (revelation of the magical nature of the world, the dragons hidden among humans, the evil dude who wants to take over everything, etc.), then visit to magic counsel, then visit to some people who might be allies in the fight against Roland (Igreefee . . . split; I forget how the names look with the word split). The dragon grows just as rapidly as the story unfolds.

Technically there is something of a romance. Kinda. In the ‘Allanah lusts after Jason; no wait, now she has this connection to Cormac, no wait she also has this deep connection to this woman named Dena’ way. Now she has to figure out where her feelings reside. But she’s going to push all that to the side to go fight. And . . stuff. Whatever else this book is, though, this is not a romance book.

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but, this is one of those types of books that I actually, and unexpectedly, loved. No, seriously, I did. But, even as I was loving it, I kind of suspected that others might be less inclined to enjoy the story. Regardless, I rather liked it, and look forward to further books in this series.

I believe that I would give this book a good solid 4.5 stars out of 5.

January 28 2016

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