House of Dragons

Author: Jessica Cluess

My rating: 3.4 out of 5

Teen dragon riders compete for the throne.

The next emperor will be chosen from among the five noble families. The eldest children have prepared all their lives for this moment, but when the Call arrives, it’s their younger siblings, the illegitimate, the weak, and the servant who are called. With their dragons, the combatants must pass several tests. Only one will be crowned. The rest will be Cut.

This is a Hunger Games style contest to choose the next monarch. Each constant gets several chapters from their own perspective, making it a bit difficult for me to choose my favorite. They each have their own merits, and lots of detriments. I don’t usually like the villain, but I had a lot of sympathy for this one, and I couldn’t help but admire their principles. The villain was a cold hearted monster, but they lived by a strong moral code and had excellent reasons for their actions. I wasn’t pleased with the way things ended for the villain. I’d like to think that they would’ve done things better, stronger, crueler, with less mistakes, but maybe they’ll be redeemed in the continuation.

I think Hunger Games was more mature in terms of cruelty. This book wasn’t as dystopian; it’s more fantasy focused, and the characters aren’t as willing to kill each other. They’re all softer and more humane, making this a better book for readers who aren’t ready for a darker read. On the other hand, the stakes weren’t as high, and the contests felt downleveled to a more junior, safer version of what a deadly contest for the throne would be. And while everyone voiced a complaint about their possible upcoming death, it barely seemed a matter of heavy concern to them most of the time.

The dragons added some nice fantasy bits to the book. There were several flying and fighting scenes, for the dragon lovers out there. And there was some magic thrown about too. A nice blend of several fantasy elements.

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