Title: Voices of Dragons
Author: Carrie Vaughn
ISBN: 9780061798948
Pages: 309 pages
Publisher/Date: HarperTeen, c2010

A deep, short growl echoed above her. She rolled over and looked up. She was in shadow, and a dragon hunched over her. A real dragon, close up. Two stories tall, a long, finely wrought head on a snaking neck, and a lithe, scale-covered body. It was gray like storm clouds, shimmering to ice blue or silver depending on how the sunlight hit it. Its eyes were black, depthless black. […]
They regarded each other. Her heart was racing, getting ready to burst out her ears. The trouble she was going to get into over rock climbing by herself was nothing compared to the trouble she was going to get into over this. This . . . this was epic trouble. She waited for the thing to eat her. (6-7)

However, seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt got lucky, because the dragon does not want to eat her. Instead, the two strike up an unlikely friendship, with Kay crossing the forbidden border between dragons and humans that had stood unbreached for 60 years. Kay struggles to keep her rendevous a secret from her law enforcement parents, her best friend, and her budding boyfriend. But escalated activity causes unease in everyone’s mind, and this friendship might be in jeopardy as sparks fly and a war threatens.

First off, let me just say that the cover is GORGEOUS! The pose, layout, and even the color choice remind me a little of the Laura Croft Tomb Raider movie poster from a few years ago. But it’s extremely eye catching, with what I assume are dragon scales serving as a border along the cover, and the glowing light behind the model engaging the viewer.

I liked the premise of the book. Dragons are living peacfully on what could be compared to Indian Reservations, designated land set aside for their use. Humans patrol the border, preventing anyone from interfering with the uneasy peace that was established after World War II. I say uneasy peace because dragon drills are done every year, with kids practicing ducking for cover in doors and staying away from the windows. That part reminded me of the nuclear bomb drills that they had during World War II, where it really wouldn’t help much in the event of a real occurrance, but it least it comforts people to know there is a plan, no matter how futile.

I was engaged in the story while reading it. Kay is a likeable enough character who faces pressures from her friend, Tam, to find a boyfriend and have sex. She slowly and cautiously develops a relationship with a long time climbing friend, Jon, in the beginning for the sole reason to have a date for the homecoming dance. Readers however see very little of their relationship, as Kay spends a growing majority of her time getting to know the dragon and Tam’s boyfriend leaves town with his family as problems increase. Tam is also relegated into the beautiful/popular/sexy friend position, and although she and Jon come through for Kay in the end, I wish we had seen more of her when she wasn’t attached to her boyfriend’s face.

Kay’s interaction with the dragon is thrilling to read about, probably satisfying dragon fans like readers of Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons series, Tamora Pierce’s Immortals series, or Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall series. The physical description of the dragon is detailed, but the dragon could have used a little more character and personality at times. In this same manner, the reading was a little slow at times, with Kay’s internalized dillema and point of view monopolizing the plot. I think alternating view points would have greatly helped the pacing of the book. However, the ending almost guarantees an eventual sequel, which fans will want to pick up but I think most readers will feel indifferent about.

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