My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Bad: Less amazing creatures in this one. Only dragons.
The Good: DRAGONS.
Okay, so like the first book, it was a little slow-going until you got into the story. But holy cow–that ending! Sager can seriously write battle scenes. I’ll give you a brief summary of setting, characters, and plot before diving into some critique.
The setting: We got to see more of Mizgalia and Dragon Coast (two locations touched on in the first that I was very curious about), but I would have enjoyed a little more information about life in Mizgalia. It brings to mind the Blades of Acktar series, so I was very interested in learning more about that land. (How cool would a crossover between these two series be?) Also, I like how the village for the deposed lords and their families was set up. It was neat that we got to see how they had adjusted to their new lives, instead of them disappearing altogether.
The characters: Trenton is the main character in this one, though we still see quite a bit of Nathaniel, Drew, Falconer, and a few of the original gang. Trenton was probably the most fleshed out of all of them, and was my favorite. (Drew still felt too perfect, and Nathaniel’s near-constant “Ho mate” got on my nerves.) I liked watching him develop as a character, but I have some caveats, which I’ll get to later. I’m very curious about Falconer–we got to see a lot more of him in this book, but he still maintains a shroud of mystery. I have questions. 😉
The plot: I’m sorry, but it was very predictable. A few surprises added a spark here and there, but for the most part I knew what was going to happen to the characters before they did. I loved the how the plot zeroed in on dragons though–it was really cool to see more interactions with them. I thought it was very unique how Sager portrayed them as more of a pest, or scourge on the land, then as a noble beast. I feel like many YA and middle grade novels lately are trying to de-vilify (is that a word?) dragons, and turn them into pets, or friends, or what have you. It was refreshing to read a good, old-fashioned, dragons-are-bad fantasy.
Some of the critiques I have for this book:
-Nathaniel’s constant “Ho there, mate.” This really annoyed me. I know it was for characterization, but it would have been better if he had said it less frequently and added some other unique phrases to his vocabulary.
-The faith elements: now, I’m all for introducing faith into books, but I think one has to be very careful about how they do it. The character’s faith needs to seem real, and not preachy. (view spoiler)
-About halfway through, the town of Dornay became Dormay with no explanation. Typo?
-I think the characters could use more depth overall.
Okay, so that was my critiques. Now let me tell you what I loved about this one:
-The action/battle scenes. These were fantastically written–especially the one towards the end. It doesn’t get much more epic than this, folks.
-The dragons. Again, good old evil dragons. And the Death Chalk was brilliant as well–very unique. Sager’s best talents are action scenes and unique flora and fauna, so I loved reading about her spin on dragons.
-Sager is also excellent at adding a touch of mystery to each book. Such as Falconer. And the cliffhanger ending.
-CLEAN CONTENT. Seriously people, this is a huge issue these days. Just look up the content in the bestsellers on the New York Times list for both YA and middle grade, and you’ll see what I mean. Or take a look at this study done by a professor at BYU: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/76…
That wraps up my thoughts on The Fate of Arcrea. Highly recommended as a read-aloud for families, or for kids 8 and up. Thanks for reading!
Language 2/10 (mild name-calling)
Violence 4/10 (several injuries, some serious, but handled well. Not gory or overly graphic)
Sexual Content 1/10 (relationship between couples–again, very cleanly represented)
Rating: 4 stars
Recommended for 8 and up.
*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*
For more reviews, see gabriellenblog.wordpress.com and fullofbooks.com