Dragon Trials (Return of the Darkening): Wishful Thinking and Dragon Riding

My love of dragon stories goes back to the first time I read The Dragon Riders of Pern series.  I would love to take to the skies on a dragon of my own.  I think it would feel exhilarating.  Sadly, the closest I will ever get to riding a dragon is riding rollercoasters.  I am a rollercoaster junkie.  I’ve never ridden one that I didn’t like.  Luckily, my boys have also fell in love with them, and we can ride as many times as they will let us.  Even better, my youngest also loves dragons.

So when I discover a new fantasy book involving dragons, I put it on my TBR.  They are one of life’s pleasures.  Dragon Trials:  Return of the Darkening is the first book I have read and reviewed on Net Galley.  It felt right to start with a good dragon story.  I really wanted to love this book, but in the end, I was left disappointed.

Return of the Darkening is the first in Ava Richardson’s new Dragon Trials series.  The actual story and plot ideas are quite good, and are something that could be built into a great series.  As a woman, I always enjoy a strong, female lead, and Agathea Flamma definitely fills that role.  She is intelligent and competent, but not perfect.  Like any other teen, she has her weaknesses and insecurities.  I liked that touch of reality.  

However, the two areas that fell short for me were world-building, and character development.  I wanted to know more about the backstories of Agathea and Sebastian.  I would have liked at least a chapter on each of their lives before they went to The Academy.  World-building could have been included not only in those chapters, but in the actual lessons and studies at The Academy.

Lastly, there are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors.  I hesitate to mention this, because this does not bother some people.  Unfortunately, I am not one of them.  These kind of errors distract me from the actual story.  The book would benefit from more thorough editing.  

I think there is great potential here for a successful series, but the complete package is not quite ready.  I would be interested in reading future work by this author after more editing and development.  

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Book: Dragon Trials:  Return of the Darkening
Author: Ava Richardson
Publisher: Ava Richardson
Date Published: November 6, 2015
Review grade: C+
Source: Net Galley