I don’t know, guys, this book just wasn’t for me. I don’t understand why the universe is doing this to me! It’s getting such good reviews, like glowing reviews, and really the sum total of my feelings can be described with a single syllable. (It’s “meh,” if you’re curious.)
And it had such promise! Who doesn’t want to read about a mysterious fungus that makes people develop pretty black designs on their bodies that look like dragon scales, and then burst into flames? And a lady protagonist! And a dude who can control fire! But all of the elements read just like that to me: elements. It never worked as a whole. I never warmed to the main character, a pregnant nurse named Harper, who has an asshole for a husband, and takes waaaaaaay too fucking long to realize it. At first I felt sorry for her, but as the book went on, she just continued to be this doormat character. She was nice enough, but ugh, people just walked all over her! (Yes, Ashley, that is the definition of a doormat, UGH STOP BEING REPETITIVE.)
(Light spoilers for the beginning third of the book here.)
Harper gets caught up in what is essentially a cult surrounding the Dragonscale (full name, Draco Incendia Trychophyton). At first I was interested in this little group who had discovered that contracting Dragonscale wasn’t necessarily the end of the world, and even as it got creepy I remained interested, but after a while, I just hated reading about some of those assholes (particularly Carol, who is my least favorite type of villain). I also didn’t buy the love story at all and wish Hill would have left it out of the book. Hill also throws in soooo many nods to his dad’s books (mostly The Stand), and it was cute at first, but then he did it one too many times, and I started to get annoyed. (A put-upon nerd named Harold? And his last name is Cross? And the deaf mute named Nick? Come on, man.)
I think I’m just annoyed because with different execution I would have been so into this book. It was just too long, with too much stuff thrown in, and some of it I didn’t like, and some of it was underdeveloped, and the main character grated on my nerves. Not even the fabulous Kate Mulgrew as narrator of the audiobook could save it for me (though seriously, she’s great).
And then! SPOILER: Harper has her baby, and cutesy wutesy names her Ashley, which is MY NAME, and instead of being excited about this, I just rolled my eyes, so yeah, if I didn’t know it by then that the book had lost me, I knew it afterwards. END SPOILERS.
But please, don’t take this review as a sign you shouldn’t read this book. I really do seem to be one of the outliers here.