I found this story really hard to get into, simply because of the author’s voice. Small words and simple descriptions just don’t do it for me, sorry. I actually assumed at first that the story was MG, (though later plot points (romance, death) supported the idea that it was YA,) because of the simplistic story telling.
However, once I adjusted to the fact that this was not going to a thrill-a-minute tale, and the prose was not going to make me shiver with glee (yes, I do that occasionally) it turned out to be a mild and fun story. Madoca is a slave in an abusive household until she is chosen by the dragons to be the next dragon seer! (OMG FOR REALZ???) Once accepted into this prestigious position by many kind people, she learns that the job is more difficult than she thought, (Magic is hard? Lol Whut?) but also more rewarding. Life unfolds happily, she makes friends with a cute boy (though she doesn’t know that’s what she’s doing, *blush* *cough* *scuff toe*) and then the Vikings arrive, and it all goes to heck in a hand-basket.
I really don’t feel the need to spoiler the ending, but it was sufficiently unexpected and worked well.
Overall, the romance was talked of in simple terms for simple readers, but it was believable. It even had several “awwwwww” moments which made me happy. The two respective important death scenes were well done, and the bad guys were Very Bad. We know this because they kill helpless animals and make small boys cringe, also they have a magician who can turn into a raven. (Like Woah.) The dragons were small, clever, arrogant, pretty and awkward. They also talked mind-to-mind, which is is IMPERATIVE for YA dragons. Unfortunately, I found myself not really caring about Madoca’s five years of being beaten and starved, or her dragons dying out, or even the terrible Vikings come to destroy our affinity with the land. I felt like I should care, but I was just annoyed at the sanctimonious tone of the tale whenever awful/stressful things happened.
This book did not catch much of my attention, but I think that is because I am not the target audience. I wouldn’t be distressed to find my little sister reading it. I gave it two stars out of five.