This post-apocalyptic dystopian YA Fantasy is lifted by a non-typical relationship path.
In a thoughtless, final act of destruction, humans wake the one creature of legend that they have no protection against...Years after the complete subjugation of the human race, Derek, heir of the Dragon Queen, and Cecily, create a tentative friendship. But something, or someone, is stalking the human enclave. Cecily and Derek must find out who and why, before Cecily is next...
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Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review.
The Dragon's Call by KW McCabe, read by Kristina Yuen, published independently (2013) / Length: 7 hrs 14 min
This is Book #1 in "The Dragon Throne" series. Book #2 has been long delayed.
This is a typical YA Fantasy that doesn't completely break any molds, nor did anything about it absolutely wow me, but I like it and anticipate listening to it again occasionally.
We have the following tropes: a (dragon) prince who just wants to be normal, a girl with something special about her, an instant "something" between them (on his part), a very rapidly developing relationship, and a BFF who can't keep her mouth shut.
But we also have: a girl whose broken & imperfect family nevertheless cares and is present & trying, actual "dates" with getting to know you moments, a main character who seeks out opportunities to make good friendships, efforts to mend things that aren't working, and NO love triangle.
I really love the cover of this one. Despite the fact that this exact scene never happened, there was one that was close and this could have followed.
Note: I am not sure if this series has been abandoned or if the sequel is still in progress. The author experienced a personal tragedy and I would understand if she can't finish it.
Cecily: She has always been the responsible twin, looking after her more reckless brother Daniel. Since her Mom was taken, she also feels responsible for looking after her father as well. She is not an outcast, she had a boyfriend (whom she broken up with before the book began) & a best friend as well as her twin, but her over protective father did limit her social interactions. She is determined to do the best she can under the circumstances, and willing to help others do the same. She isn't any fonder of dragons than any other human, but is willing to examine her prejudices in light of personal experience. I like her a lot for being a reasonable & caring individual who stands up for herself and others as well.
Derek: I like him for not being a bad boy nor inclined to either arrogance or pouting. He just wants to live a normal life and, having been very sheltered, doesn't understand why all the humans are so afraid of him. And he is totally willing to be "just friends" if that's what Cecily wants.
Cecily & Derek: As I said above, this relationship develops more rapidly than I like. But how many dragon princes do you know who invite the girl they like over for burritos & a movie night? (Though he does do at least one extravagantly expensive gesture as well.)
Another thing I liked alot was that most of the characters have nuances to them that make them more than one thing. An example is Alyssa. She is Derek's ex. She is selfish & self-centered and doesn't understand why Derek would be bothered by her being with both him & his brother until one of them inherits the throne. Yet, despite her disdain for humans, all her interactions with them are quite polite. She is someone I could easily see going either way - embracing evil and destruction, or reforming and making a good ally.
This book takes place in our world after dragons have awoken from a long sleep and won a war against the humans. The final victory came when the dragons took human form and used their power to control humans. Because of this, dragons are now required to remain in human form.
In addition to traditional dragon powers & abilities, they also practice some sort of magic that we only learn a little bit about. The biggest use we see of it is their ability to heal.
The book begins with a historical account of the beginnings of the war with the dragons. After that the book goes back and forth between current events and short excerpts from the historical account. I like knowing the basics of how the world came to be the way it is before we start.
The ending is nice and I like it. Things in Cecily's family and with Derek are at a good place. However everything on the dragon side, especially with Derek's status, is still left open.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- Dragon prince & human aside, they have to talk about normal issues - like the fact that she is going away to college soon and what that would mean for their relationship.
- Daniel confronts Cecily and she gives him the smack down, and puts responsibility for his own actions firmly back on his own shoulders.
- Derek & Cecily's dad
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Some swearing
OTHER CAUTIONS: Derek (very briefly) slides his hands inside her shirt. / One character suffers nightmares following a crippling encounter with a dragon / Many characters have family members who have disappeared / There is a mild torture scene
Character voices differentiated = Somewhat / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good, exposition is a little bit flat / Emoting = Acceptable / Speed = a bit slow, listened on 1.5 speed rather than my usual 1.25
There was one very small repeated section.
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Can you recommend a good MG or YA (i.e. non-erotic) dragon shifter series?
- Do you like books that alternate between present time and accounts of the past?
- Do you enjoy reading aloud to other people? (Check out the narrator interview for how that influenced her career path.)
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
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Bonus Narrator Interview
Which actor/actress do you think should playing the lead character(s)?
I’m not one that makes a hobby of deciding which famous actor should play what role if something were to be made into a movie. But at one point, I did tell KW McCabe that if this YA series was ever made into an animated feature, I’d really love to play the Queen!
What motivated you to become an audiobook narrator?
I’ve always enjoyed reading out loud because I’m an actress. When my kids were little, I loved reading stories to them and creating various character voices, and this is actually what inspired me to see if I could be a professional voice artist. I have a BA in acting and have played some very fun roles on stage, but I really found my calling in voice over and narration. Acting on screen and stage is limited a great deal by what the actor looks like. While the way a person sounds is always a factor in casting voice work, someone who does not look like a certain role can actually play that role behind a microphone, if they can make their voice sound appropriate for the character. It’s very freeing for an actor to not be constrained by how short or tall or old or young they are, or by the color of their hair, eyes, or skin. All you have to do is be good, which is hard enough without the added burden of trying to match a role physically.
What's the best part about being a narrator? The worst?
The best part of being a professional narrator is that it gives me an opportunity to flex my acting muscles on several different characters within the same project, as well as use my storytelling skills. I don’t live in Hollywood, so I don't have much opportunity to do character work. Most of the voice work that I do is either corporate narration, or advertising, with an occasional small video game thrown in for variety. Narrating audiobooks gives me a chance to actually ‘act’ a little behind the microphone, and can also be very challenging, in a good way. The worst part of being a narrator is… well, I really don’t see a worst part to narrating. But I do see a worst part to producing the audio book. And that is editing the thing. Audio editing is tedious to begin with, and then I happen to be unusually particular in my editing, so it takes me a long time to get the narration market ready.
Did you learn anything new in order to narrate this book?
The Dragon’s Call was the very first novel I ever narrated. I feel very fortunate and grateful that author KW McCabe was willing to give me a chance. So yes, I learned a tremendous amount about the actual process of narrating and producing an audiobook. And I learned to be patient with myself and with the process.
Audiobook / eBook / Paperbooks? Which is your favorite and why?
I don’t really have a favorite. Although I guess I’m partial to paper books. I like the tactile sensation of holding the book and turning a page. Plus I like writing actual notes in a real margin if it’s something I’ll be reading aloud. Ebooks, however, are so easy to haul around. I’ve got my phone with me all the time anyway and the kindle app is great for sneaking in some reading whenever I find myself bored while waiting for an appointment or standing in line. And Audiobooks? Yes, they’re great! They are the best for multi-tasking. In fact, that’s why the audiobook market has really taken off in the last few years.
For more information: http://www.kristinasvoice.com
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