Title: The Last of the Firedrakes
Series: Avalonia Chronicles #1
Author: Farah Oomerbhoy
Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy, Fae, Mage, Magic
Disclaimer: I received this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank them for sending me this book!
16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.
Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.
With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever.
First of all, I love the cover. I think it’s gorgeous. I love the colour blue <3.
I also liked the that the chapters have titles, not just numbers. I know it seems silly, but I liked it. They also have a nice font ( the titles).
This book is a fantasy novel, therefore the Earth is not the only world that exists. Avalonia is the place where Aurora spends most of her time. It is a parallel world, a different dimension, but it is still connected with the Earth. In theory, the characters can travel back and forth.
The world created by Farrah is full of fantasy. You have magic, fae, demons, all sorts of magical creatures (based on mythologies) and so on. There are seven kingdoms, with seven rulers plus nobles, balls, palaces, and knights. In a way, the seven kingdoms are seven countries. Each one with its own customs, history and traditions.
In general, the world building was pretty good. You can imagine it in your mind with no problems. However, we do not get much backstory. Since Aurora lived 16 years in UK, she does not know everything about Avalonia, therefore she has to learn the history, certain past events, magic, healing plants and so on. The author did not skip it entirely, but the reader does not find out what Aurora learned. For example, her uncle or the school’s principle, are telling her about certain events that happened or explained stuff. We get something like “Uncle Gabriel explained this to me”; and that’s it. We don’t know what Aurora learned, because the author did not write what Aurora learned. In other words, Aurora learned new things, but the reader does not learn along side with her. Therefore, the reader is left with many questions and gaps.
The book provides a map of Avalonia, and I thought it was a nice touch. It was easier to imagine Avalonia when I could look over the map, and see where every single place was in Avalonia.
In other words, what happens to Aurora.
There is the first challenge, where Aurora is thrown into a new world she never knew existed. And this challenge leads to a chain of new challenges, conflicts and events. Aurora goes from being an orphan, to having family members. She also goes from thinking she’s human, to not being human. I don’t think there are humans in Avalonia. Everybody is descended from some magical being.
The climax: Aurora faces her enemy, Morgana. Ironically, she ends up helping Morgana when she does something she was told not to do. >.>
I think I got the main plot of the series, which is Aurora defeating Morgana and taking back her kingdom. However, I am not sure what was the main plot of this first novel. I mean, it is a series, but a novel is a novel. I think it is Aurora finding out about her heritage, learning about her new world and starting to use her powers. But I am not very sure.
One of the sub-plots is the romance, and I will talk about it below.
There are plot-twists and surprises. Some things are a little bit predictable. Lets just say I guessed who Rafe is way before Aurora learned about it.
In general, it is not a bad plot. It’s not original, but it’s not bad either. Besides, it’s almost impossible to find a 100% original book these days.
Or what Aurora knows and sees.
The novel is first person, past tense narrative. I liked the fact that it is in past tense, especially since it’s written in first person.
The narrative is limited to Aurora’s point of view, which is good. These days, all novels have a limited point of view; the omnipresent narrator is not used anymore.
In this case, the narrator is Aurora and the narrative and the plot are linked.
Since it is in the first person, there are some ramblings. We get to read Aurora’s inner thoughts and feelings, and sometimes it’s not that interesting. I also don’t want to be told what she feels, I want to see how she feels. I also want to know what she learns, and what other characters tell her. And the best way to do these two is through dialog.
As I mentioned above, the reader does not get to read the conversation between Aurora and other characters. Yes, there is dialog, don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to a conversation where a character explains things to Aurora, the dialog is missing or we only get to read the beginning.
Since Aurora is the narrator, we only see what she sees, and knows what she knows. And if Aurora does not let us see through her eyes, and hear with her ears, we don’t get the whole story. It also gives the impression that the story skips from scene to scene way too fast, or that there are some scene missing.
I would’ve also liked to read about Aurora learning about magical plants, or how to fight. We read that Aurora was tutored by Penelope and learned how to heal, but we don’t get to see her do that. And suddenly, Aurora is a great healer! We went from 0 to 10 without counting the numbers in between. The same thing with Aurora being thought by Rafe how to fight. And these are just two examples.
I think if the narration was focused less on dresses, food and how the rooms look like, and more on what Aurora is doing it would’ve been better.
There is also repetition. Same things mentioned in the same chapter; either in the same paragraph, or on the same page. For example:
“Four tents were set up in the middle of the testing arena,” (Oomerbhoy, location 3707)
Paragraph 6, same page:
“There were four tents, one each for different levels of magic.” (Oomerbhoy, 3714-3715)
Paragraph 2, same page as above:
“the first test— Healing.” (Oomerbhoy, 3709)
“Healing was the first test.” (Oomerbhoy, 3714)
Two repetitions on the same page. And no, there are not in the ARC version, but in the Kindle eBook that I bought from Amazon.
Now, the narrative is not terrible, just lacking. It is a interesting book, and it does keep the reader hooked. The book is not boring, and it is fast paced; maybe, a little bit too fast paced.
Main Character: Aurora.
I would say, Aurora is your typical YA heroine. When I say typical, I am referring to the fact that these days, most fantasy novels have one heroine that is the Chosen One. He or she has to save the world or something like that. She or he is also special; more special than the special – being a mage or a fae is already being special. And no, Aurora is not special because she is a princess, rather she’s special because she is very powerful, even though for 16 years she did not do any kind of magic. Granted, her parents were also pretty powerful, but somehow she got the best of both worlds. It is also mentioned she is not the only specimen; others existed throughout history, but only one in hundreds of years.
Some people will like this kind of heroine, other will hate it, and other might be a little bit bored and wanting something different.
I don’t hate it, I don’t love it either. I like it enough to keep reading. And sometimes I end up actually liking the book. I try my best to keep an open mind.
Aurora is childish. I didn’t hold it against her in the beginning, since she was kidnapped and all that, but toward the end I expected to see her maturing. Is she a static character? No, not really. She does change throughout the novel, she grows a little bit.I liked the fact that she wanted to learn to use her magic, and she did extra work after school to do that. But since we only get a passing reference to it, we don’t really see her learn; we just hear about it.
Aurora seems to be compassionate, and she does have a good heart.
Aurora is stubborn, and rebelling. Typical teenagers; if she is told not to do something, she does it without thinking to the consequences.
Some will find her to be strong and holding her own because she doesn’t do what others tell her to do. Doing what you want, without thinking to the consequences and to your safety, it’s not being mature, nor strong. As I mentioned above, she did what she wanted even though she was warned not to do that, and at some point she ended up helping her enemy. >.>
Also, Aurora is always hanging her head. When someone is lecturing her, she’s hanging her head, and looking down. It is suppose to mean she’s ashamed or something like that, but that’s her only reaction.
Now, Aurora is not a terrible character. She is interesting enough to make you want to read about her journey. I expect her to grow more in the next book; I presume that, because this was the first book in the series, and I hope this was just the introduction to her character.
Love interest, but a minor character: Rafe
Not much to say about him. Rafe does not get much book time to make a real opinion about him. Reading between the lines, one can say he is a good person, since he is helping people out. And of course, he is handsome. ^.^ At least he does not walk around topless.
I think he is a little bit ridiculous when it comes to keeping his promise to his mother, but I have a feeling that will not be the case in the next novel.
I don’t have much to say about him as a love interest. As a minor character he is entertaining enough.
Since Rafe was teaching Aurora how to fight, in theory we would’ve got to know him better. But that did not happen; those scenes were not developed, just mentioned.
Antagonist: Morgana and her people.
Not much to say about her either. We learn from Aurora and other characters what she did and why she did that, but she appears only in one chapter. She is the villain, so she is evil. Static, flat character.
Mini-Antagonist: Damien and his family
Same as Morgana.
Second characters: Uncle Gabriel, Penelope, Aurora’s adoptive family (3 members), Viv, Serena, Kalen, Snow and others (forgot their names).
Now, some of them are more developed than others. Overall, they are nice and supportive (minus Aurora’s adoptive family).
I think there are too many secondary characters, and because of that, most of them are not very developed. Less secondary characters, and more dynamic, would’ve been better. Or, if the story needs that many characters, at least they need to be developed enough so they will help move the plot; this way I will remember them.
Not much romance in this novel. We get to read Aurora’s ramblings about Rafe, but there aren’t many scenes between them. Oh, they do spend a lot of time together, since Rafe was teaching Aurora how to fight with swords, knifes, and so on. However, as I mentioned twice already, we only got a few sentences about it; no actual scenes, just references. And this makes me think that Aurora does not love him, rather she is lusting over him.
The romance is underdeveloped.
Ah, I liked the fact that Aurora did not want to be with Rafe since he is engaged with someone else. Some girls her age, and even adult women, wouldn’t have cared about that. She did show some morals. However, it would’ve been a nice plot twist; it would’ve added more drama. 😀
I think we’ll get to see more of Rafe and Aurora in the next novel.
I enjoyed reading the novel. It was entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes annoying. The story did managed to make me feel something, which is great.
It has some flaws, but it is not a boring book.
I think this series has the potential to be great. I also think the author should pay attention to the narrative, especially since Aurora is the narrator.
The novel is clean, and it can be read by the younger teenagers as well. I think it would be loved by young people.
If you like fantasy, magic, good vs evil, princesses, magical creatures, romance, and everything that comes with YA fantasy, you will like this novel.
Anyway, don’t take my word or review as a fact. Read it, and form your own opinion.
In Goodreads rating, that would be 4 stars (rounding up)