Dragon Ascending (Vanir Chronicles), by Amy Beatty
I have this friend, Amy, who I mostly know online through homeschooling, but we've met a couple of times in real life too. Amy is an amazing person, plus she is eloquent and wise in a way that I will certainly never ever be. Also I feel like our families would get along well if they happened to live in the same state. Anyway, Amy had always wanted to be a writer and felt like it was time to do the thing. She told me that she wasn't sure whether she wanted to write a complicated galactic SF novel, or a fantasy novel about dragons, so she figured she would try both. She wasn't sure whether she was a meticulous plot-planner or more of a spontaneous writer, so she tried both. The result is two books, and the dragon novel found a publisher remarkably quickly (I know this because I saw it over Facebook in real time).
First, Edrik is thrown into a dungeon, which wasn't his plan. His plan was to find his long-missing king and rescue him. Instead, he's broken and imprisoned, and so are his friends -- except the one lying dead on the table, being dissected by the young and skinny dungeon-keeper who seems to keep a rat in his hair. Edrik is desperate to escape; his only chance for the life he wants, for marrying the girl he loves, is to do this job and get back in time. As a pinioned dragon, he has few good options. Meanwhile, his king doesn't seem to want to escape this dungeon, and is weirdly friendly with Mudge, the dungeon-keeper. At least nobody seems to know who the king really is. But nobody knows who Mudge really is, either.
Beatty is a solid fantasy writer, by which I mean she knows how to do it; this may be her first published novel, but it's not her first story by any means. She builds a large, complex world holding several societies and a long history; she has original and interesting ideas about those societies and the people inhabiting them; there aren't long breaks in the action for infodumping.
More than that, it's a great story. I usually have to read in short chunks, and I didn't like putting this one down. Finally, I had a morning to myself and decided to read the last third all in one go, because I knew it was going to get too exciting for me to want to stop and go do normal real-life things. Which it did; I was stuck on the couch all morning! I did this in preference to working on my latest embroidery project, people, and that has a deadline looming.
So if you're a dragon fan, or into fantasy novels, this is one to get.
Dragon Ascending is being published tomorrow, and you can get it in paperback and Kindle. For some reason they're listed separately. I suppose Amazon will fix that one of these days. You can also check out Amy Beatty's website, find background information, and even listen to soundscapes to match the story.
See what I mean about having a bunch of author friends all of a sudden?
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.