I love doing book reviews, and when I saw the description of Dragonkyn, by Nathan Smith Jones, I wanted my 11-year-old to read it and give his review. He loves fantasy, and dragons.
Overall, he liked the book. He loved the surprise factor – that the book was never predictable. He admired the trio of Alex, Jen and Marc because of their selflessness and sacrifice. He also loved how Marah was a true friend and selfless. My son thought the characters were described very well, and he said he could imagine them as real people. He also liked how they had different powers that were all exciting.
He did think that the book was gruesome, and a little too violent. He also didn’t see a huge point to the book as far as lessons learned. He felt that the book needs a sequel, as it left the reader with a cliffhanger. He gave the book 3.5 stars.
I read the book too. I have read YA books before where teenage characters are not written with teenage voices or personalities. I felt that Jones did a great job writing Marc as a teenage boy. Marc, as the main character of the story, is a good kid overall. He loves his mother, and is a good friend. He is poor, and is picked on sometimes by peers, and even a local policeman, but he is easy to relate to and to like.
One day when making a grilled cheese sandwich, Marc realizes that he is different. Through dreams, interactions, training, and danger, he learns who he is and what powers he possesses (and how to channel them).
The book was well-written and interesting. As my son said, it really was full of surprises, and I found myself wrapped up in trying to figure out who the good guys and bad guys were.
There were multiple grammatical errors in the book, and many run-on sentences. I sensed they were written that way to help the reader hear the character’s voice, but oftentimes I had to read a sentence more than once to process it.
I did not like the amount of violence in the book. It was quite an evil story, and honestly, I found it hard to see how any person (or dragonkyn) with morals could be a part of the Sorceron. It didn’t make sense to me. It read like a cult, and I wanted to know more about Victor and why everyone followed him, even people who were moral, like Marah.
Kind of like my son, I wondered what the point of the book was. The story was full of suspense and danger, with some lessons of personal growth and relationship development. However, there were many questions at the end of the book. I understand there will likely be a sequel, but I was not satisfied with all the loose ends. I had way more questions than answers, and I didn’t get a sense of rooting for the Dragonkyn or caring about their future as a group. I cared about Marc, Jen and Alex, but what would their future be? Would it be separate from the rest or with? Would they be welcomed? What is Victor’s next plan? What about Drakesel? There was quite a gory scene in an alley towards the beginning of the book that was never revisited. Who did that?
I just felt that violence and hatred led the book and there wasn’t enough substance. There was no real cause to stand behind other than not dying, and learning to develop one’s dragon powers. I did like the concept of the Vibe, though. I thought that was clever and profound.
Regardless of my reservations, I must keep in mind this is a YA novel, and I am sure teenagers will enjoy the book, as long as they can stomach all the violence. If your teenager (or you) like dragons, and suspense, read this book.
About the book:
Marc used to think he was pretty ordinary, but he also used to think ice cream trucks didn’t sell ice cream and dragons were just fairy tales. Now he knows better. With skin that can’t be burned and strange powers he can’t explain, Marc soon discovers the truth: he is part dragon. And as he joins his fellow dragonkyn, his closest friends could quickly become his greatest enemies.
About the author:
Nathan Smith Jones graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English Literature. The fourth of eight children, he is the author of the Children’s book, “The Boy Who Ate America,” and several other novels and screenplays. He lives with his wife and five children in Utah..