Published by Amazon Digital Services on October 31, 20198
Series: Alveria Dragon Academy #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: eARC from Publisher
A kingdom divided cannot stand. For those caught in the middle, it means death.
For centuries humans and dragons existed side by side in Alveria, bonded by their care of one another. But no longer. After decades with no viable eggs, humans far outnumber dragons, and the survival of the species appears bleak. The outlook for everyday humans is little better as rogue dragons raid and torment villages. Yet it’s far worse for the tamers, beaten and killed simply for serving the noble dragons.
But eking by at the bottom of Alverian society isn’t any easier for seventeen-year-old Kaelan Younger. Harder still when her loyalty to the dragon crown is no secret. But when her dying mother reveals a horrifying truth about her identity, Kaelan is thrust into a world for which she is ill prepared.
Faced with a new life at the proving grounds for humans and dragons alike, Kaelan must reconcile not just her past but embrace the future laid out before her. When her responsibilities as an Akademy tamer collide with her feelings for a powerful dragon shifter, it will take everything she has to prepare for the coming danger threatening them both. The fate of the dragons she has sworn to serve rests in her hands.
Now Kaelan is no longer an outsider.
She’s the enemy.
The Dragon Tamer is the first book in the Alveria Dragon Academy series by Ava Richardson. The Dragon Tamer is a young adult fantasy, and was a great start to what seems to be a very promising series. I have really been into dragons lately, so I was really excited to find a new young adult series centered around them. The Dragon Tamer is set in the world of Alveria, where in the past Humans and Dragons coexisted, but in present day Alveria, the dragon population has dwindled significantly. Because of this, tensions between the remaining dragons and humans are very frayed, and the climate between the two species is pretty hostile. This is the world that our main character has be brought up in.
I always find it fascinating when we get to learn the history of a new world because it really helps to set the stage for what kind of series this is going to be. In the Dragon Tamer, we meet Kaelan, who becomes an outsider because of her loyalties to an unpopular crown. She comes from a family of healers. But this is only the beginning. There are many secrets swirling that thrust Kaelan on a new path and a new adventure. One that I can’t wait to see explored more fully in the next novels. The Dragon Tamer did a great job of setting the scene for future books. I loved Kaelan. She is strong and a touch stubborn, but I think that stubborness serves her well. I also really enjoyed Lasaro, and I can’t wait to see what develops on the romance front in the next novel. I have a feeling it is going to get even better in that regard as the series goes on.
The Dragon Tamer had everything that I love in a fantasy- magic, an epic world, dragons, secrets and subterfuge. The world building was the real star here, which is always a delight for me. I love escaping to new worlds and when I can vividly picture the scenery, the characters and I understand their motivations, I know I am pretty much bound to love the book. Ava Richardson does such a phenomenal job of teaching us the history of Alveria, that it makes the present day county really come to life. I loved book one and I am super excited to see what is going to happen in the next novel. This was a really great read!
“Redroot!” her grandmother shouted from inside the house. Kaelan scrambled over to the little flowering vines and yanked off three buds—her healer’s instinct, weak as it was, at least told her that was the right amount—and then carried everything inside to Haldis. The old woman took the plants but paused before turning away. “She will be well,” she said gently. “It was only a faint. Your news was disturbing. She’ll wake soon.”
Sagging with relief, Kaelan moved to her mother’s side and lifted her, placing her gently back into her bed. She tugged the threadbare blanket up to just under her chin, the way Ardis had always done for Kaelan when she’d been small.
Tears stung her eyes again. Her mother was okay, Haldis had said, but the truth lingered unspoken… for now. Ardis had caught a wasting illness from a villager she’d been trying to heal last year and nothing that Kaelan or Haldis could do would help. Her mother would wake from this faint, but one day soon, she wouldn’t.
Kaelan had seen how the stages of this illness went for the villagers. First, they’d waste away, getting to the point where they were hardly even able to stay upright for long. After a year or sometimes two of that, they would fall into a coma. About eight weeks later—if you could still get enough food into them to keep them alive that long—it was all over. Which was why, every time her mother had fallen asleep lately, Kaelan had lived in fear that this would be the day she wouldn’t wake. And at the same time, secretly, shamefully, she knew that at least then they would know how much time she had left. The waiting, the terrible uncertainty at this point in the illness… it was grueling for them all.
“What do you mean, my news was disturbing?” Kaelan asked, turning to her grandmother. Talking more about what had happened in the market was suddenly preferable to dwelling on the thin frame tucked under the covers.
But Haldis only tightened her lips as she retrieved a mortar and pestle from the cupboard. “This tea will help, but it won’t heal her,” she reminded Kaelan instead.
“I know that,” Kaelan snapped back.
“The energy of a dragon is the only thing that might heal her now,” she went on.
Kaelan gritted her teeth. She knew that, too. They’d all known it, but it was a pointless thing to say because, fascinated by the dragon-blooded nobles as Kaelan might be, she still understood that not a one of them would bother with healing a poor peasant woman. “Much good knowing it does,” she muttered tightly.
But then she thought of the roar, and the skull, and the look on her mother’s face before she’d fainted. Something within her tightened and curled in on itself in fear. Suddenly, she didn’t want to talk about dragons at all.
The packed dirt of the goat path stretched up the mountainside, its pebbles skittering beneath her steps. Her breath ached with each inhale. That was all she could hear, all she could see, all she would allow herself to think about.
“He was charming,” Ardis had said after her confession, her smile turning sad. “He was handsome. I loved him. I’m not sure if he ever felt the same about me, but I wanted him to.”
Kaelan’s father had been a dragon. But not just any dragon. He’d been Mordon. The most infamous and villainous rogue dragon to ever exist, who’d disappeared decades ago. Except that he hadn’t disappeared, had he? He’d been with Ardis, at least for long enough to give life to Kaelan.
The roar in the market. The dragon skull the village boys had mocked her with. Better watch out. It could be the great Mordon come back to destroy the land.
She stumbled to the top of a rocky cliff. She slowed to a stop there, gasping for air, her hands on her knees. Her thinking had become disjointed. She tried to lay it flat, stretch it out, but her mind refused to be still.
“I never saw him as a dragon,” Ardis had said back in the cabin as Kaelan had stood frozen, stunned. “I didn’t know what he was till after he was gone. He left a letter. This letter. To get you into the Akademy, should we ever wish it.”
And she’d never told Kaelan. Never so much as hinted that her father had been anything but a soldier killed in battle. Kaelan’s whole life, sixteen long years, and not one shred of truth in any of them.
The tattered book on the shelf, the one with the worn cover and crinkled pages. The one she’d read so many times without having any idea how it applied to her. What had it said about dragon-bloods? When in human form, dragons may take a human lover, and if there is a child, it will be born in human form. Such children may or may not be able to shift into dragon form—if they do have the capability, it will show itself before a child turns fifteen. Otherwise, the non-dragon children of such unions are often put to excellent use as tamers.
A tamer. That was what her mother wanted her to become. Kaelan was a year past the fifteen-year-old deadline for revealing a dragon form, which meant that her role at the Akademy could only be to team up with a dragon. With one of those majestic, deadly creatures, the ones that she now knew were a part of her. Flesh and blood and bone and soul—if dragons had those—she was one of them.