Series: Talker 25 #1
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Pre-Order: Amazon | Book Depository
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
This book is a big fat joke and I really wish I hadn’t been drawn to it because of it's pretty cover. I should have learned my lesson but I never do. Plus I decided to not read any of the reviews which could have prevented me from wasting the painfully long time it took me to read this book.
At first there was some potential. The first couple of pages made me think this book stood a chance and could either blow my mind or go down the drain. It took the latter path. The first time I knew this book was a goner was when the main character referred to her friend’s appearance as ‘the whore look’. Slut shamming right there and it happened so many more times. There wasn’t only slut shamming though, there were so many instances where female characters were mocked for various things.
Melissa falls under the teenagers that I’d like to slap category. She is self-centered and insensitive. She yells at her father and brother all the time and goes so far as to publicly humiliate her younger brother. Sure it was an accident but just because you’re fucking stressed doesn’t mean you have the right to take your anger on whoever the hell you want to. Melissa, like any other annoying ass teenager out there, swoons when she encounters a hot guy. Never mind the fact that the government thinks she is an insurgent and will most likely arrest her.
The insurgents are stupid. They are supposed to be rebels. They support the dragons and you know what? These shit heads aren’t rebels. They are kiss-assesses. They kiss up to dragons and try to win their favor. I am not kidding. The dragons are apparently self-sufficient so I don’t even understand why they need humans to help them. I don’t think the dragons even care. Like seriously. This is basically what the insurgents are like when it comes to dragons.
They fawn over them but aside from that, they don’t know shit.
The James dude, the love interest is equally as annoying.
“Probably. I don’t know. If you don’t face death every once in a while, how do you know how to live?”
It reminds me of a book I read a while ago, The Wicked We Have Done. The book referred to this ideal as Chaos Theory and because of the events of that book, his ideas don’t make me think, they just piss me off. No. Going out of your way to look for trouble is only going to end up with you being dead. There is something known as self-preservation and I am not sure James has it. Thankfully though, he doesn’t play a major role in this book so I didn’t have to put up with his stupidity for too long (this also means that there wasn't much of a romance so yay for that too).
A lot of the instances of slut/woman shamming aren’t exactly portrayed in a negative light. They are supposed to come across as jokes but they didn’t. For example, this
"Claire, whose hairy legs could be very well belong to a sasquatch..”
I didn’t laugh. I might have if I was the sort of human who thought that all women should shave their legs because otherwise, they’re just disgusting freaks, but as it is, I DON’T! Melissa also called her friend at the ‘camp’ a whore, and of course it was playful because she is one. She uses her body to get alcohol. If you cannot tell, I am being sarcastic here. Instead of mocking and making fun of her friend, she should try to help her. If she is so dependent on alcohol, then there is obviously something wrong here. But no. The world revolves around Melissa and no one else matters.
There are other completely insensitive instances in this book. Like this one.
"..sitting all retarded in the restroom”
This sentence was used to refer to a girl who just died and they were trying to think of things to comfort themselves so that they wouldn’t feel so bad about her death. I cannot even. I seriously cannot. SO MUCH RAGE. SO SO SO MUCH RAGE.
The book is way too fast for the first 1/3rd of the book with things happening one after the other and no time for readers to digest what is going on. The next 2/3rds slows down and kind of reminds me of some odd mix between The Program and The Hunger Games except with dragons. These kids are sent to Antarctica to be reconditioned so that they aren’t ‘dragon friendly’ anymore. The government is completely evil and for what reason I don’t understand. Of course humanity is going to freak out if a bunch of dragons came out of nowhere. Humans are not required to accommodate them. THEY SHOULD. They definitely should out of common courtesy but dragons are the strange species here and not humans (or the animals that inhabit the planet). Their presence could result in fractures in the ecosystem and a whole heap of other problems so I am not sure why the government is seen as evil (and also portrayed as evil in a very cartoonish way). Things are not so black and white and shouldn’t be portrayed as such.
Also there is a weird TV show in this book which is why I said Hunger Games. These people are made to dress up and kill dragons to entertain the dragon hating public. *rolls eyes*. I don’t even know what to say to that.
The world building is very weak in this novel. The dragons came out of nowhere 15 years ago (the dragons don’t remember where they came from either), they are digging a giant pit in the middle of Kansas. Why? Also the dragons themselves make no sense. Their reproduction techniques remind me of flowers which just makes me go huh? On top of that, the ‘baby’ dragons remind me of giant puppies. The dragon in one scene goes so far as to ‘lick’ Melissa’s face a bazillion times. What? WHY? The adult dragons just reminds me of stuck up humans. We’re talking about dragons here and as someone who loves dragons, I am annoyed. There was a LOT of potential here for developing interesting dragons but the potential just went down the drain.
I ended up skimming huge chunks and even then it took me ages to read. This book dragged on and on and made me rage and even writing this review kind of makes me angry. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless you’re sure you're be able to handle it. I am pretty sure I won’t read the sequel unless I am feeling masochistic and decide I want to know what happens from this point onwards.
Note that all quotes have been taken from an uncorrected proof and may be subject to change.