Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Quickening by Antonia Tiranth

TITLE: The Quickening
AUTHOR: Antonia Tiranth
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 56k)
GENRE: Fantasy romance
COST: $5.50

Jo Moreau gets a shock when her best friend from high school shows up at her parents’ house in the middle of the night, after a five year absence. Aer Gwindor disappeared before graduation without a word, leaving Jo to pine after him all this time. Now, though, he needs her help to rescue his brother. The catch? Neither Aer nor his brother are exactly human. In fact, they’re Rikashi, dragons who can shift into human form. Oddly enough, Jo isn’t that freaked out, since her dreams lately have taken on the same tenor…

Dragons aren’t normally my thing, but when an idea catches my eye, I’m willing to take a second look. What caught my eye on this one was how spunky the heroine seemed she could be in the excerpt, so I bought it to give it a go. While she was spunkier than many heroines out there, it wasn’t in a way I expected, and I’ll admit, a style I don’t particularly like.

There’s a reason you won’t find YA reviews on my blog, just like there’s a reason you won’t find ones for inspirational romances. As a general rule, they don’t work for me. I find the idealism in a lot of YA too much to take, and often, the issues and emotions end up feeling very After School Special. I don’t know, maybe I was never really a kid. Either way, I don’t buy or read them anymore, not since I’ve decided to stop trying to convince myself that just maybe one out there will work for me.

This isn’t billed as a YA. It’s billed as fantasy romance. Fair enough. But reading it, I get overwhelming impressions of YA writing. It’s not that it’s a fairly clean romance; there are enough romances out there that don’t open bedroom doors or do much more than a few simple kisses. The subject matter is mostly adult, too. Aer and Jo have to deal with finding his brother, and then dealing with the fact that somebody is trying to kill off dragons. The action is fairly continuous, with a lot of cliffhanger chapter endings, and it clips along at a brisk pace. It’s more about the tone and the idealized emotions the two leads have.

Aer and Jo are five years out of high school and have been secretly in love with each other all that time. Both are too honorable and proud to actually say or do anything about it, and there’s a distinct pedestal quality to the way they treat each other. Aer, especially, acts more like a teenager than any young adult I know or have known, and while Jo fares better, she lapses into the same sort of behaviors in the latter half of the story. The charm of her fire wears off quickly as I increasingly feel that I’ve stepped into the middle of an episode of Veronica Mars, with added dragons. It just never ends up working for me, in spite of chapters done in alternating 1st POVs for both protagonists.

It’s hard for me to tell if this story ends up falling short because of something in the story that I failed to put a finger on or my own inability to enjoy stories that suggest YA to me. It’s very possibly the latter. Sometimes, personal biases are just too difficult to overcome.


7/10 – Quick and mostly clean, but the simplistic presentation felt so much like YA that it was hard to get into


6/10 – Charming enough at the start, but simplified, idealistic emotions help contribute to the whole YA feel that distances me from the story


7/10 – I liked her more than Aer, because at least for the first half, she seemed more like an actual adult

Entertainment value

6/10 – I really liked the ideas, and the pacing was fine, but not being able to shake the YA feel kept me at arm’s length

World building

7/10 – Some good stuff there, though the occasional information dumps were clumsily done



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