As she travels into the Zefedi lands, she must pose as one of them and infiltrate the fort where the dragons are trained. Beginning as a food taster, she schemes to get closer by becoming an intern for the Aromatory and learn how to train the dragons. As the clock ticks against Kaia, Maren pushes forward to achieve her task. However, the world is more complex than she anticipated and many surprises are in store.
What I loved: Maren is a fantastic main character, and I loved following her journey. Plus, it’s always great to see LGBTQIA representation in YA fiction, especially when that is not the primary focus but just a part of the characters. The world-building is enough to be intriguing but not enough to overwhelm. However, the glimpses into folklore/legends were fascinating, and I really hope to get more of the history of this world in future books.
What left me wanting more: The plot drags a bit as Maren seeks to find a way to steal a dragon. Her time as a food taster and then working her way to the Aromatory was a little slow. However, it does speed up quickly in the last half of the book as there is more action/advancing plot.
I also would have liked more background/context for Maren and Kaia’s relationship. We get glimpses at the beginning and then it falls to the wayside. More passion about Kaia, rather than just saving her, would have been lovely to see throughout the book. However, as it is, this leaves the door open to a potential other love interest/triangle. Still, it would have been nice to have Maren think more about Kaia throughout (e.g. remember their past, consider how Kaia would view the adventures, etc.) to reconnect with the passion of why she is going to such lengths to save her.
Final verdict: Overall, this is an exciting start to a new YA fantasy series, and I would definitely love to continue with the series. With an intriguing new world, LGBTQIA representation, and dragons, this book is sure to delight fans of immersive YA fantasy.