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A Dragon Rider for the Fans

Pub Date 23 Apr 2024

Avon and Harper Voyager, Harper Voyager

From the Publisher:

New York Times bestselling author Taran Matharu’s debut adult fantasy series introduces an immersive story written in the tradition of the viral cultivation genre. Discover a rich world of magic, warriors, and dragons, in which a fearless orphan and an ambitious handmaiden flee from the empire that would imprison them, with a dream to return to their homelands and a determination that’s unbreakable…

Can an orphan captive learn the secrets of the Dragon Riders to stand up and avenge his people?

Jai lives as a royal hostage in the Sabine Court—ever since his father Rohan, leader of the Steppefolk, led a failed rebellion and was executed by the very emperor Jai now serves.

When the emperor’s son and heir is betrothed to Princess Erica of the neighboring Dansk Kingdom, she brings with her a dowry: dragons. Endemic to the northern nation, these powerful beasts come in several forms, but mystery surrounds them. Only Dansk royalty know the secret to soulbonding with these dangerous beasts to draw on their power and strength. This marriage—and the alliance that forms—will change that forever.

But conspirators lurk in the shadows, and soon the Sabine Court is in chaos. With his life in danger, Jai uses the opportunity to escape with the Dansk handmaiden, Frida, and a stolen hatchling. Hunted at every turn, he must learn to cultivate magic and become a soulbound warrior if he has any chance of finding safety, seizing his destiny…and seeking his revenge.

Buy here.

My review:


What made me grab this book without hesitation was not the title or the promise of dragons, but the fact that this has a male lead. I always prefer a male lead, even when there is a great female equal to him in the team. The fact that they can both contribute and help each other is always my favorite path for a story well balanced.

Jai is the younger brother in a hostage situation. He and his two brothers were raised by a Ruler who was their father's enemy. The different people have different traditions and beliefs. Some command Gryphons, others Dragons. This is a good promise but I wanted more from it.

In the beginning, Jai is in a position without power, like a slave, being humiliated by the evil villains. He remains a bystander for most of the narrative and gets rewarded by being in the right place at the right moment. I was a bit sad that this was the case. It didn't grab me. I prefer characters who face hard choices and their choices advance or even change the plot.

The good ideas are there but the author picks different resolutions that I am expecting.

I understand that the darkness and violence + foul language made the publisher rank it as an adult novel but at the same time the author makes a lot of writing and plot choices that read as a novel for younger readers.

It's also predictable in many situations.

If the reader is new to fantasy, then the reader will enjoy the story. But an experienced fantasy reader will not get excited.

I recommend this series to young fantasy readers who want to leave middle grade behind and start reading something that is not a portal fantasy and doesn't have a female lead (more or less).

Thank you Publisher and Netgalley for this e-Arc.

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