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Ever since The White appeared in our valley of Windridge, my people have lived in fear. But today that fear ends. Finally, the King has sent his most elite dragon hunters to kill The White, the last of the imperial dragons.

Since the death of her father, Sienna Foxburn hasn’t felt safe. The White, a fire-breathing imperial dragon, terrorizes the Valley of Windridge with no end in sight. But Sienna isn’t satisfied hiding behind the walls of her keep. She is tired of fearing the dragon, but she can’t fight it alone.

Then a mysterious sorceress and two elite dragon hunters arrive, claiming to be sent by the King. Thus begins the great hunt for The White. Sienna embarks on a dragon-hunting adventure through the exotic Valley of Windridge, all while uncovering secrets and conspiracies that could endanger the entire Kingdom….

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars
In case the five or so glowy reviews before this had escaped your notice, I am a huge fan of Shreffler’s work. Her other series, The Cat’s Eye Chronicles, has a coveted seat upon my Shelf of Awesome and when I heard she was working on a book with DRAGONS I went a little spastic. This story manages a huge amount of world building, character building, and emotion in a very short space, something that impressed me greatly even with having read her other pieces. It is a fantastic story, even if it did end in a cliffhanger, and I am very much looking forward to watching the series unfold.

The plot:
Everything happens pretty quickly here, which was a nice change for me after a steady diet of epics lately. The plot progresses with only enough world building and description that is necessary (huge plus). My only question issue with this story was Sienna’s empathy toward the dragons. It’s explained, but I wanted to see just a little more expansion of the thought and feeling processes she went through before getting to that point. However, that was my one and only—I wouldn’t even call it a complaint. More like a side note.

It is mentioned somewhere that this has romantic elements, but I would say the focus here was definitely more on the dragons. (And if you have a problem with that, go away.) The general feelings of the populace toward dragons were displayed and justified well in the beginning, but I still found myself sympathizing with the dragons more than the people (which was probably Shreffler’s scheme).

The characters:
This doesn’t happen especially often, but the heroine was my favorite character. In the beginning, Sienna is going through that whole awkward “on the threshold of adulthood but has no focus” stage that I think most of us go through. That won her huge doses of empathy and she was relatable and human to me, unlike a lot of fantasy heroines that have been cropping up.

Darius, the dragon hunter, has that whole aura of mystery and awesome about him and I have lots of questions about his character. What did he do that got him made a dragon hunter? Who was he before? Like I said, lots of questions for sequels!

Mistress Ash is probably the other main character and also the villain. Everything about her creeped me out from the moment she turned up and it became clear pretty quickly that I was right about here. She was an excellent villain to this story, written to make you hate her and as far as I was concerned, she could join the chopping block queue with Cerastes and Volcrian (references to The Cat’s Eye Chronicles).

The other characters, mainly those from Sienna’s home castle, reacted in understandable ways, but…no, I’m not going to be rooting for them any time soon. On the other hand, I thought they were remarkably developed for such a short span of page time and even Sienna’s mother was portrayed as having sympathetic qualities.

All in all, this was a well-written YA fantasy I would shove in the faces of anyone who likes dragon literature. I enjoyed it greatly, it has been a delight to read, and I am anxiously anticipating the next installment in the series!

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