This is a CYBILS finalist!
Annie and Lee are two orphans who grew up together during a brutal revolution. Annie was freed from her position as a peasant and Lee was relieved of his position of royalty, and secretly left alive unlike the rest of his family. After the revolution and with the new government, everyone is tested into their new status in life. This means everyone has a chance to compete to become a dragonrider–a once-coveted position that only high born children could inherit. Lee and Annie are competing against each other, while each of them thinks about the future they want.
Both of these characters are very believably strong and flawed. Lee is dealing with the death of his whole family in front of his eyes, being allowed to live, and watching his birthright be available to people who were once considered peasants.
He has complicated feelings, and I think he has good reasonings for what he feels. He also shows such good character growth. There are flashbacks that show Annie and Lee together at the orphanage, and they both grow a lot.
Annie is a crazy talented dragonrider, yet she’s only confident in the air. I really liked that about her. She has great talent, but she’s not arrogant. It’s really empowering to watch her gain confidence during the book.
She does some really difficult things with a heart made of gold. I was so proud of her. I felt like she was my personal friend. I also appreciated her conflicted feelings about Lee and who he was and who she knows him to be.
This book covers revolutions and governments really well. It shows a realistic view of how one rule isn’t necessarily better in every way from another. There is still cruelty and poverty. I appreciated how complicated Munda made the overthrow. She seemed to really understand how complicated status systems, governments, and revolutions truly are.
She also understands the complexity of love, family, and loyalty. I was in awe of how she covered them so realistically. Nothing is that straight forward in this book because people aren’t that straight forward when it comes to what they want and what’s best.
I think this is an amazing fantasy book. I also believe it covers governmental complexity, family, and loyalty in a way that is so important and exciting to read.
This was a gripping read. I’m so excited about the second book and I highly recommend reading this book. I’m so excited that it’s a finalist for CYBILS!