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Dreams of a Dragon Girl by Bonnie Jacoby

Reviewed by Wendy Hawkin

An ambitious debut novel and first in the Dragon Descendants series, Dreams of a Dragon Girl, will have Young Adult readers, as well as dragon lovers of all ages, furiously flipping pages. Told by dual narrators—fifteen-year-old Becca, and Gregor a seventeen-year-old male dragon—the story chronicles the turmoil suffered by each species since humankind blamed a horrible plague on the dragons and drove them to extinction. Like humans everywhere, there are good and bad among them. Some, like Becca’s grandfather and best friend, believe in the dragons and their lore; while others consider his musings a threat.

We soon learn that the dragons are not extinct but have been sleeping deep in Sanctuary—the source of the world’s magic—for the past 150 years.

Gregor is guided by his olfactory sense. In a vision, he follows the scent of nutmeg to Becca, who he realizes will help his coven. Then, drawn by the scent of pepper, he leads them to Valley Keep where he connects telepathically with Elizabeth, the trickster Dragon Prophet and Manipulator of minds. Like any coming-of-age story, a subtle love story unfolds between Elizabeth’s grandson, Trey, and Becca, who are connected by their love of Gregor and the dragons.

The antagonists are more monstrous than the dragons, and Becca must contend with being bullied, assaulted, and nearly forced into a societal marriage by her heartless mother. She fights against inequality and emotional abuse when she’s forced to walk back and forth to school with Nathan, her tormentor, who considers Becca something he can do with as he wants. Jacoby explores these familiar issues for young adults with tact and concern.

Red-haired Becca has a gift of her own. She can feel and sense emotion—something that drives her mad in her backward community but works to her advantage when she sets out on her quest. “Loneliness, tiny and nebulous, an echo of her own yearning” (128) guides her to a “pool of colourful stones” one of which pulses with life. What are these things that resemble plain grey rock when out of water, but when submerged morph into iridescent oval-shaped eggs? Later, she senses Trey’s emotions and finds him wounded after a fall from Gregor’s back.

Becca lives in the pioneer-like village of Chartsend where staunch humans worship the Healer who delivered them from the Dragon Plague. The book brings to mind John Wyndham’s, brilliant sci-fi novel, The Chrysalids, published in 1955, with its young, telepathic protagonists who find themselves persecuted by the masses of rigid, religious fundamentalists ruled by fear of the future, disease, and deviance from the norm.

Jacoby pens this intricate dance of dragon mythos and magic in lush, lyrical, heartfelt language. Poetic lines—“He dashed her tendril of hope before it could take root” (363)—draw the reader into her fanciful sphere. Elaborate world-building is one of the hallmarks of this fantasy novel. Ah, and there’s a map. Northern Drakkoia, with its mountains and rivers, is the setting for this story, but we wonder if we will travel the whole of this island over the course of this series. Her descriptions of magic as colourful energetic threads draw me into her imaginary world, and let’s face it: Who wouldn’t want to fly on the back of a dragon?

Dreams of a Dragon Girl is published by CosmicDragon Press.

W. L. Hawkin is an award-winning author with Blue Haven Press. Her LGBTQ+ Hollystone Mysteries series features a Wicca coven who solve murders using ritual magic and a little help from the gods.


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