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A fast paced, captivating story set in a very unique world. Dragons have broken through from their fire realm and bred with humans to create Dracons, who have various magical aspects and now rule most of the world, but conflict with the humans is about to erupt. The strong female lead, Dekota, is easy to connect with and the authors writing and great narration allows you to feel her struggles, sorrows, fears and heart. She is willing to fight to protect those she cares for and her unique ability with souls adds a interesting aspect to the story. In some ways she is somewhat of an anti-hero as she works as an enforcer for her "crime lord" Grandfather, spying and manipulating souls but you still cannot help but like and empathize with her. Wyvern, the half-dragon male protagonists, is somewhat of a controlling jerk, but them again he is not human. His character grows on you as the book progresses and I found myself routing for him at the end of the book. While his attitudes and actions are ultra domineering, he still accepts and listens when Dekota takes a stance (even though this is in opposition to Dragon ways.) While a love triangle does exist in this book it does not overwhelm the plot but rather it adds to the intrigue. I enjoyed all the characters in this story, many of which had novel and unexpected aspects and the narration fit well with their personalities and enhanced the overall story. This well written and narrated book has many twists in the plot that keeps you turning the pages. I will look forward to the continuation of the story in the next book. I received this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Henchgirl by Rita Stradling is the first young adult fantasy novel in the series called Dakota Kekoa. It features 16-year-old Dakota Kekoa as she navigates the politics of the dragon, dragon-blooded human or Dracon, and human communities. While only 16, Dakota, a Dracon, has been working undercover for her grandfather, a powerful Dracon and businessman, to infiltrate the human community by pretending to be a human student at a high school. The rest of the time, she uses her Dracon-given powers to manipulate the emotions of her grandfather’s enemies to bend them to his will. In addition to these responsibilities, Dakota assumes the responsibility of both providing for her wayward, human mother and sisters as well as keeping their need for support a secret from her Dracon grandfather. The relationship between the Dracon and Human communities is a tense alliance that Dakota must further test when her Human friend goes missing.
I really enjoyed this novel. The world building surrounding the interface of the Dracon society with the Human society and the interweaving relationships of all the characters are quite complex. Living at the interface of the two communities, Dakota’s position is especially unique. As a Dracon female with a certain amount of dragon blood, she could be trained to become a good Dracon wife. However, as soldier for her grandfather’s and family’s interests, she is able to avoid this. But the fact that Dakota could be facing that fate, especially if she falls in love with a Dracon, makes the romance in the novel particularly complex. There were aspect of the romance that I didn’t like, and I hope Dakota is more convincingly able to take a stand for herself as the story continues into the sequel. The concept and explanation of the dragon culture were interesting as was the existence of the Dracon with their unique powers. Dakota’s power of soul manipulation was especially fascinating. I wasn’t completely convinced by the mechanics of Dakota’s power and how it related to the soul. I think there could have been more nuance to the power, but I liked how it used. I liked all of the characters and their interactions with each other. The plot building was also pretty good. I was surprised by the end and the storyline was dynamic and exciting. I would definitely recommend this novel.
The narration by Sorrel Brigman was good as well. The voicing of each of the characters was distinct so it was really easy to tell the characters apart. This was especially important because there are so many characters to keep track of. But the narration made it easy. The production quality was good as well. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes young adult fantasy novels, especially those with dragons.
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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12 of 14 people found this review helpful