Bingo Square: Take the Skies (has dragons and riders)
Violet Sorrengail has always known she would not be a dragon rider like her brother and sister before her, she’s far too delicate and would die even attempting to train. She’s going to be a scribe and hang out with books and history, where it’s safe. But then her mother, a general, decrees that Violet will join the cadets after all. And now Violet has to survive various tests – as well as murderous students – and earn her place as a dragon rider. Chief among those who hate her is Xaden Riorson, whose father was executed for being a traitor. He and the other children of the rebellion wear marks showing their status. But is he as dangerous as Violet has been warned?
I had heard such mixed reviews for this, but it seemed I would either love it or hate it from the extreme reactions, but my own response was more middling. I really struggled with the beginning, the writing style is very choppy and I had to really concentrate to take in the descriptions, but then I either got used to it or it got better, and I started to enjoy it. The characters are probably the best thing about this, and I was rooting for Violet and Rhiannon and the others close to them. And I did enjoy Xaden and his brooding looks. The grumpy dragon is an especial delight also, and there were certain things I expected to happen with the bonding that didn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised. Also stuff like “A dragon without its rider is a tragedy. A rider without their dragon is dead”. That’s drama, baby! This book knows exactly what it is and what it’s doing, and I have to appreciate that.
But by two thirds in I was flagging. It is a very long book and starts to get repetitive with the training and Violet/Xaden’s relationship. Like they’re having the same conversations multiple times. I was skim reading the battle by the end and I did not like the perspective shift in the last chapter. I’ve been in Violet’s head this whole time and now I don’t get to see her feelings and reactions? No. Also Rhiannon seems to mostly disappear once Violet and Xaden get it on, and that’s a shame as I enjoyed their friendship.
Will I read the next book? Probably. That there’s gonna be four more makes me a bit fatigued though.
*My partner made that pun, I’m stealing it.