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The Last of the Firedrakes (Avalonia…
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The Last of the Firedrakes (Avalonia Chronicles)

by Farah Oomerbhoy

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"The Last of the Firedrakes" is getting some wonderful reviews from other readers of GR, but I honestly don't understand why. Other than the gorgeous front cover, I found the book terrible. The writing was immature, the dialogue cliche and Aurora, the protagonist, was incredibly stupid, irresponsible and a spoilt brat. I am only giving this book two stars, mainly for the cover and world building, but I think I'm still being overly generous. ( )
  HeatherLINC | Jan 27, 2017 |
Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

In accordance with current FTC Guidelines, please let it be known this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

It’s The Fantasy Pick-Me-Up You’ve Always Needed… 4 Stars!

The Last of the Firedrakes is an impressive fantasy début complete with amazing descriptions, captivating plot lines, and of course, glorious magic.

A Quick Summary:

The plot of The Last of the Firedrakes is one that has been told a hundred times. Essentially, this is the story of Aurora, a neglected and mistreated orphan who was kidnapped and taken through a portal into a world of magic, mystery and mayhem (clichéd but true). It is in this new world that Aurora learns more about herself, her lost family and her newly found magic. As the hero of this story, it is up to Aurora to discover her past and grow in her magic in order to save herself, her friends and her world from the terrible reign of the ruling queen.

At its heart, this is very much a coming-of-age story as much as it is a fantasy tale. It combines many of the typical tropes of fantasy to create a compelling début that should not be so easily dismissed into the world of “good try” novels.

The Good:

Admittedly, it took quite a while for me to get into this book. That’s not to say that this isn’t a fast paced or interesting tale, because it’s actually both! It’s just that I couldn’t help but criticize all of the clichés. That combined with the really young feel (which I will get into more of later) made this book very kiddish to me. It felt like it shouldn’t have been considered YA, as much as it should have been labeled children’s. Maybe that seems very nit-picky, and maybe it is. Either way, I found myself becoming very jaded and negative to this book without giving it much of a chance. Luckily, the longer I read it, the more invested I became; and these feelings started to dissipate rapidly.

So now that I’ve went off on that tangent, let’s get back to what I actually did enjoy.

The very first thing that struck me in a positive way about this book is actually rather silly. You may laugh, but I was instantly pleased at the use of Avalonia as the name of the land. In fact, I didn’t even get to any of the actual reading when I first noticed this. If one is included, I always do my best to familiarize myself with the map of fantasy lands. For me, it makes my life easier when I’m trying to visualize landscapes later on in the book. So, doing what I would normally do, I flipped straight to the map. Low and behold, there it was. Avalonia. Now for those of you familiar with Arthurian legend, you’ll understand my immediate and rather childlike giddy reaction. I, of course, am a HUGE fan of anything Arthurian. Merlin being my personal favorite Arthurian figure. I kept thinking to myself, “I wonder if this book will take on an Arthurian feel?”. Without giving too much away I actually feel like it kind of does. It has that cross of Merlin the wise teacher and Arthur the learning savior vibe. Although, most fantasy does.

Actually reading the book showed quite a number of other positives as well.

One thing that can be said of Farah Oomerbhoy, is that she knows how to be infuriatingly descriptive. Why infuriating you ask? Well that’s obvious, it’s because she’s so good at it, that she’s ruining my ability to judge future books. The standard just got higher my friends. I would compare her gift in this field to that of J.K. Rowling. In fact, this book felt akin to Harry Potter in this and other regards. It’s one of the few books where I feel I could say “looking for something after Harry Potter, well here it is”. Am I saying it’s as good as Harry Potter, no, at least not for me. But the descriptions and storyline are captivating enough to sate that thirst that Rowling left with all of us. Places, food, people, they all feel vibrant and real. I’m quite in awe of this gift of hers.

I mentioned above that this feels extremely reminiscent of Harry Potter, but there are a couple of other novels that seem to pop up in here as well. I mean we have that whole Narnia(esc) world portal and evil queen situation going on. We have the Ursula K. Le Guin Wizard of Earthsea comparative, regarding one of the villains. We have Rafe who to me feels like Zorro, or maybe even Westley from The Princess Bride. Please don’t misunderstand me, I only bring these up in a positive note. This book in no means feels like a ripoff of these works, it’s just something to think about. Actually, if you liked any of these books, you’d probably enjoy this one thoroughly. It’s just the right combination, without feeling like you’re reading a remake.

I feel like I could go on and on here. I mean the characterization was done well. There was decent attention to detail in almost all aspects. There was a nice mix of various races and creatures that gave this book a huge thumbs up in my opinion. The magic was equally interesting; combining old school wizardry and Druidism with various other magical styles. And the plot twists, especially those at the end, were semi-surprising.

One last thing, if you like fantasy books with a school element mixed in, rejoice. I myself love them, and in turn, love this one because of it.

The Bad:

So the bad. Well as I said above this feels like it’s aimed more for the younger side of YA at best. The writing is simplistic and easy to understand, and while that’s great it causes it to lack the depth that I tend to gravitate towards in fantasy nowadays. It almost felt like we were treading over most issues, instead of stomping around in them. I suppose this could be due to the scale of the story. I thought about this aspect for quite a while though and while it was negative in one respect, it did make the book extremely fast paced. Like insanely fast. As in I finished it in hours fast. So one door closed and a window opened.

Clichés can be endearing at times, but after a while they get old. Unfortunately, this book tends to be riddled with them: royalty has magic, she’s a long-lost _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, she’s insanely powerful (this one I liked), teenage girl fawning over her savior, familial betrayals, and on and on. There’s a difference between picking and choosing what works for you, and throwing in the laundry basket.

The character personalities were mostly fine with me, with the exception of Aurora. Usually I find myself commenting on side characters, or villains, but in this case I found it difficult to relate to the main character. Of course this could be because I’m not a 16-year-old girl, but still. It just felt like she had the emotional depth of a younger girl (maybe 12), and the same could be said for her decision-making. I could attribute this to a purposeful character flaw, but I don’t think that’s actually the case. She just made too many stupid choices. You would think even at 16 she would carry around with her some common sense. I suppose the insta-love didn’t help here either though. A brain befuddled by desire could be the cause of some of her problems. Either way, I have to be able to relate to the character and agree with most of their decisions, or at least see where they were coming from. This was far an above the biggest detractor in my case.

Even combining these issues though, I still gave this book 4 stars. That gives you a decent idea of how little these added up to in the scheme of things. I still felt like they were worth noting, but take them all with a grain of salt.

Overall:

This is a good book. This isn’t going to blow you away in originality, and it isn’t going to bring you to the mountain top of fantasy literature, but nevertheless, it is still quite good. It’s pacing and descriptiveness are nearly bar none, the characters are somewhat appealing, the magic is entertaining and the plot line is a fantasy classic. It’s adventurous, humorous, thrilling, and engrossing. It’s exactly what one would hope for in a fantasy novel, without being too heavy. I’d definitely recommend it, but just keep in mind that it is a younger, young adult novel. Don’t go into this expecting anything graphic or deeply emotional. In any case, I honestly cannot wait for the next in the series!

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
The Last of the Firedrakes (Avalonia Chronicles #1) by Farah Oomerbhoy is a delightful clean fantasy novel. There is lots of danger, thrills, intrigue, strange creatures, magic, curses, evil vs good, and lots of twists and surprises. It has a great plot and interesting characters that are well developed. The book doesn't end in a "finished" end but leads to the next book but finished enough to go on. I enjoyed the many characters and the magic. There was a hint of romance. The main female was strong but had her faults. Overall, a wonderful story! I received this book for a honest review and it in no way effected my review or rating. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Apr 8, 2016 |
We absolutely loved this Magical, Fantastical debut. Read our full review of The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy at www.bubblebath-books.com ( )
  bubblebathbooks | Sep 9, 2015 |
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