Thursday, 12 March 2015

Review: Aranya (Shapeshifter Dragons #1) by Marc Secchia Synopsis:
Chained to a rock and tossed off a cliff by her boyfriend, Aranya is executed for high treason against the Sylakian Empire. Falling a league into the deadly Cloudlands is not a fate she ever envisaged. But what if she did not die? What if she could spread her wings and fly?

Long ago, Dragons ruled the Island-World above the Cloudlands. But their Human slaves cast off the chains of Dragonish tyranny. Humans spread across the Islands in their flying Dragonships, colonising, building and warring. Now, the all-conquering Sylakians have defeated the last bastion of freedom–the Island-Kingdom of Immadia.

Evil has a new enemy. Aranya, Princess of Immadia. Dragon Shapeshifter.

***I received the ebook free as a review copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review***

Marc Secchia definitely has an eye for imagery. All the locations and battles you journey through in this book are portrayed so vividly that you could reach out and touch the stormy clouds. There was also a great amount of world building - at appropriate times (rather than in big chunks at the beginning) which meant you knew the world as well as being able to see it.

Admittedly this meant that parts did drag, particularly the scenes in between battles/events where it wasn’t filled with dialogue. Being such a long book already, this meant I grew tired on occasion and wanted to put it down: then again I didn’t, because I wanted to know what happens next already!

It was definitely the characters that won me over, with two fierce princesses and their interesting companions. Aranya was such a strong person/dragon/whatever you want to call her (so long as it isn’t “beast” or she will burn your ass) and was never willing to just sit on the side-lines when she could be making a difference. What’s more is that she needed no man to do this. There was a love interest, but after his and Aranya’s instant connection at the start they spent the majority of time at a distance and that’s where possible love blossomed which I thought worked well!

This book also delved heavily into different types of relationships – not just romantic. You see the importance of friends, family as well as the more unusual beauty of dragon & rider. This is something I often miss in YA novels, and the witty banter made it all the more enjoyable to read about.

Now then, the ending concluded everything beautifully, and that’s where my trepidation to pick up the next book lies… I’m satisfied with leaving it as it stays and it’s now been a while since I read this first book so I’m not sure how easy it will be to jump back into the world. Nevertheless I enjoyed this book, and whether you read it as a standalone or the start to a series I’d recommend you check it out.
Favourite Quotes:
“Still lay the Island-World beneath the whisper of a Dragon’s wings.” 

“Go burn the heavens, Dragon and Rider.”

“I used to think I saw honour in battles and accomplishments and medals. But now I see those are the honours of men, which are as dust. The honour of the heart is another matter entirely.”

“Let our battle commence, Third War-Hammer Yolathian of Jeradia. I shall not be merciful again.”

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