Friday, April 2, 2010

Review - Voice of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn (4/5 stars)

I have read all of Vaughn's adult Kitty Norville series, when I saw she has written a young adult novel I was excited to read it.  This is her debut young adult novel and it is a very good book.

During World War II the bombs that were dropped awoke the dragons and a great war ensued.  Finally a treaty was signed giving humans and dragons separate territories.  Kay lives in this world sixty years later; humans and dragons have had no contact and her home town is on the border of Dragon territory.  Then one day while out rock-climbing she falls and lands in a river and is washed up on the Dragon side.  There she meets a dragon, Artegal, who is as curious about her as she is about him.  They become friends.  But then things go wrong.  A human plane crashes in Dragon territory, and it may not have been an accident.   Are the humans trying to start a war with Dragonkind?  Can Kay and Artegal do anything to influence both races?

There are some really cool things about this book.  The characterization is excellent; the characters are likable and engaging.  Kay and Artegal are the highlight characters, but the side characters are all well done.  The history behind the Dragons is very well done, believable and creative.  Vaughn is an excellent writer, and as with her adult novels, the writing is easy to read, engaging, and personable.  There is a lot of action and a lot of thought that went into the story.  I also can't help but wonder if the story is a bit political given the whole war theme.

There are a couple things that bugged me.  First and foremost was the ending.  I guess it ended okay, but it took so much of the story to set up the relationship between Kay and Artegal that their journey felt rushed.  Then the ending leaves things wide open.  I wanted to know what Kay and Artgel did when they reached their destination.  On her blog Vaughn mentions that she has an idea for a sequel book, but that plans for the book are not in the near future.  So, for now, we will not get any further story about Kay and Artegel.

The other thing that bothered me was how much time was spent angsting over sex.  As an adult I thought it was silly how much time Kay spent debating whether or not she wanted to have sex with her boyfriend.  I also thought the pressure her girlfriend put on her to have sex was silly.  Then I tried to think back to high school/college and I realized that back then we did spend a lot of time talking about sex.  And, for me and others, whether or not to have sex was a huge decision.  I remember going through many of the thought processes that Kay went through.  So, in a way it is good that this was discussed throughout the book.  I liked that Kay had morals and was resistant to peer pressure in this area; it's a good example for young adults.  But, adults reading the book should be warned, quite a bit of the book is devoted to Kay's struggle about whether or not to have an adult I found these parts kind of boring.

Overall this was a great read, I loved the characters and the story.  I was disappointed that the set-up took so long and that the story ended abruptly.  I also rolled my eyes a few times over how much discussion was devoted to decisions around sex; but as a young adult I would've found this content interesting.  I am hoping that Vaughn writes a sequel to this because I really want to know more about what happens to Kay and Artegal.  Vaughn continues to be an excellent writer and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Debut Author Challenge
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge
Voices of Dragons 


  1. I just ordered this book for our library, I'm glad you liked it. It got so-so reviews, but it sounded like it would still be worth reading, so I'm glad it was. I'm also thinking maybe some adult Kitty fans might pick it up.

  2. It was a fun read. Then I got to go and see "How to Train Your Dragon" this weekend. In a general way the two have very similar themes and were both a lot of fun!

    I hope that lots of people at your library get to read it and enjoy it :-)