Thursday, September 22, 2011

Early Review - Slayers by C.J. Hill (4/5 stars)

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
384 pages

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 27, 2011
ISBN: 978-0312614140
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Slayers series
Source: eGalley from
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got an advanced reading copy of this book for review through NetGalley(dot)com.  It was a fun read and an excellent book.  This is a book about young adult dragon slayers in the modern day world.  Think Percy Jackson and the Olympians
, but the kids are fighting dragons instead and are part of an ages old genetically modified race.  I haven't been able to find any information on a sequel to this book; but based on some things that were left unresolved I imaging this will be a series.

Tori has always been fascinated by dragons.  But since her father is a Senator and her family is rich and elite, Dragon Camp has never been deemed worthy enough by her father.  Finally this year her father relents and Tori finds herself enrolled in Dragon Camp.  No pedicures and bell-hops here, just cabins and a bunch of dragon-obsessed kids.  Or is it?  Tori is older so she is put in the advanced part of the camp; the area for older teens.  Thing is the teens in this part of the camp are very different, they have super-hero-like powers.  Could Tori be part of a genetically modified subgroup of humans destined to save all of humanity from vicious dragons?

The premise of this book is wonderful.  The Dragon Camp reminded me a lot of Camp Half Blood from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick also reminds some of the unicorn fighting school in Diana Peterfreund's Rampant series.  You have a group of teens together learning how to use their super powers and how to fight dragons.  How cool is that?

The characters are all fairly engaging.  There are two girls who are pretty stereotypical mean girls, and we never really get a reason for their behavior.  Outside of them the rest of the characters are very interesting.  Tori comes off as a bit of a spoiled rich girl (she assume the boys that help her take her luggage to her cabin are bell-hops), but she isn't pretentious...she's just used to a different way of life.  As the book goes on Tori sheds this rich-girl persona and really grows as a character.

There is a love triangle in this book.  Slayers always have a power match; one person whose power is similar to or compliments theirs and they are more in tune with this person.  This pairing doesn't have to be romantic, but teens being teens it does get involved.  Tori is drawn to and gets along with one guy in the camp really well but of course her power compliments a different boy's.  So this is just a comment for those of you who either love or hate love triangles.  That being said the love triangle doesn't take up a ton of story space.

The story is mainly told from Tori's perspective but there are short chapters between that are told from other characters' perspectives.  It was well done and I felt that seeing small parts of the story from other characters' viewpoints actually added a lot to the story rather than subtracting from it.

The story is well wrapped up in the end, there are a few unresolved plot points but it wasn't really a cliffhanger.  I enjoyed the writing style, it was easy and fun to read.  The story was full of fun action scenes and interesting superpowers, with a touch of romance.  Deeper questions are breached about the importance of saving humanity as a whole versus the happiness of an individual.

Overall this was a fun read.  It takes the old idea of dragon slayers and applies it to a modern day story with deeper implications on humanity as a whole.  I thought the dragons' powers were interesting and had a lot of fun reading about the Slayers and their different powers as well.  The characters are generally interesting and engaging.  People who enjoy reading about monster slayers and teens learning how to use their monster slaying powers should enjoy this book.  It is best suited for middle grade and older.  If you love fantasy and reading about dragons, with a bit of a coming of age added to them you should check this book out.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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