Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Target Age Group: young adults
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
*provided for free for review purposes
Jason Masters never really believed in the old legend that said people were enslaved and taken to another planet to work for their dragon masters. His older brothers believed, though, and they determinedly searched for the portal between their worlds so that they could rescue those who had been stolen – The Lost Ones. When Jason sees proof for himself, he finally believes and starts looking for the portal that his brothers have already traveled through. But before he can help The Lost Ones, he must rescue his sister from the dungeon, avoid the plotters who framed him for the governor’s murder, commit deeds of courage & heroism to make the magic finger work and just try to stay alive!
Meanwhile, on the dragon planet, Koren slaves away for her master, Arxad, and tries to determine what is myth and what is true. Legend says that all of the humans on the planet are descended from a small group of people captured from another planet and transported through a portal to work in the mines where the dragons are too big to go. But dragon history claims that humans have always worked for dragons. She is not sure who to believe! Koren must also struggle to understand her own growing powers, for she is a rare Starlighter. When she tells stories, the humans and emotions she is talking about come to life for those listening to the tale. She will either rise to great power – or be destroyed for overstepping her bounds.
In this first book, there is a clear difference between the worlds and you jump back and forth between Jason & Koren. They usually alternate by chapters, which can be a bit frustrating, as you just get into the action on one planet and then are thrown into the other person’s head so you are constantly having to wait to find out what happens! I understand why the author chose to write the book this way, but I did not particularly care for it. I am hoping that the next 2 books have the protagonists on the same planet and working towards the same goal so that we can see the story from different perspectives, which I think will be really interesting. The reason why I think it will be interesting is that it is ironic that, even though Koren is a slave and Jason is not, both of them enjoy about the same amount of freedom. It will be interesting to see how the author changes both planets in the end, which I hope he does!
The book is well written, but there is just something missing in it for me. Sure, there is plenty of action and the teens always seem to be in the thick of things. This means that everything is fast-paced and so you will not lose interest, but you also will not really care about everything that is happening. Bryan Davis created these two unique, interesting worlds, but does not really develop them for the reader. They are flat and one-dimensional. The author only takes the time to describe aspects of society and details about the surroundings to further the plot and then drops it to the background again. Also, I was not attached to the characters. Did I want them to win, sure. Was I personally invested in their success, not really. The main characters didn’t really seem to feel anything for their fellow characters either. When Koren accidentally causes a kind man’s death she just kind of shrugs it off and goes on her way. Jason becomes friends with an enemy’s son very quickly and it is like they are all okay and this noble’s son is suddenly willing to defer to someone born his inferior. It just did not ring true for me.
Anyway, I understand that this book was written for tweens and teens and I think it will appeal to them as the book is fast-paced and full of action. However, I think that older teens and adults will be a bit disappointed as there is really no connection with the reader. I just feel like there is something that is not quite there and I cannot just sit back and enjoy the book for what it is as there is a huge piece missing for me. Of course, I still think that this is a decent choice if you are looking for a fantasy/science fiction hybrid – especially if you are looking for something clean and with a positive message.
People die and have to work hard in this book, but there is nothing particularly gory or gruesome. Battle sequences are fairly bland and generic. The slave labor conditions are described in general terms so you know that there is suffering going on, but you don’t feel emotionally invested in it or get teary eyed over it. There is no swearing and no sexual situations. Recommended for ages 10 and up.