Sunday, May 20, 2012

Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn

book cover
Voices of Dragons
by Carrie Vaughn

ISBN-13: 9780061798948
Hardcover: 309 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Released: March 16, 2010

Source: Borrowed from library.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border. She's feeling pressured by her peers to have sex with her boyfriend, and she wants to be alone to sort out how she feels about this. It's an acceptable risk: dragons don't come near the border, and she knows what areas are patrolled because her parents work to monitor the border. But she's wrong--someone is at the border. She's shocked to learn that a young dragon wants to talk with her and see if humans and dragons can be friends. A secret friendship grows between them.

Suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon interactions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

My Review:
Voices of Dragons is a young adult contemporary alternate history where dragons return from their hiding deep below the surface of the earth at the end of WWII. I found the "history" and the interactions with the dragons to be interesting.

The other focus of the book was Kay's relationship with her boyfriend. She doesn't want things to change between them, but her female best friend is pressuring her to have sex because "everyone is," "it's great," and "how will you feel if you die a virgin?" Kay's not sure if those are good enough reasons. How can she know when the time is right beyond listening to her hormones or the pressure of her friends? Kay's boyfriend is struggling with the same pressure and confusion, so he doesn't pressure her. He's a really great guy who shares her interests in the outdoors and genuinely cares about her.

Unfortunately, she never did figure out an answer. As she and her boyfriend get more an more physical, it looks like "hormones" will be the answer. But then Kay learns that dragons don't care if you're a virgin or not (which is a relief to her, though I'm not sure in what way) and gets so caught up in saving the world that there is no time for sex.

The ending is likewise unresolved concerning the dragons. Kay and her dragon friend decide to do whatever they can to stop the dragon-human war, even if the impact of their actions is small. I like how coming to this decision was handled in a realistic way. But we never do find out if their actions made any difference. So much is left unresolved. I realize an author doesn't want to say, "Sorry, kiddos, a dramatic, noble sacrifice probably didn't stop things." Or maybe they thought selfless, heroic fantasy wouldn't sell in today's market so they didn't want to end too positive. Let's just say I'm disappointed there wasn't an epilogue if there wasn't going to be a sequel.

There were no sex scenes. There was some swearing and explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book because I like selfless, heroic fantasy, and at least the heroine dared to question the social pressure to have sex.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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