Title: Soul of Smoke (Book #1 of Dragonsworn Trilogy)
Author: Caitlyn McFarland
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: July 27, 2015
Format: eARC via Netgalley
My Rating: 5/5 stars
I’ve been trying to read books that are a little out of my comfort zone, and I started with Soul of Smoke. The book starts out with Kai Monahan hiking in the Rocky Mountains with her slightly reluctant friends. When they come across an injured girl. Kai stays behind while her friends hike back for help. While waiting for her friends to get back with help, the girl wakes up. She insists on going back to her camp to help her brother, who she says is in danger. What choice does Kai have but to help her get to the camp? Once they arrive Kai witnesses something unbelievable…the camp is under attack…by dragons! As if that wasn’t crazy enough the people she has just met are also turning into dragons! When the injured girl’s brother Rhys is under attack and is nearly killed she does the only thing someone does in that situation…she grabs a sword and helps him. Afterwards, she’s taken to their base while Rhys recovers. While she’s there she gets to know all the people that are part of their group of dragons and she begins to learn about their world. She gets some firsthand knowledge about being heartsworn….does she complete the bond and give up her normal life? Does she have a choice when humanity might be at stake? Oh the drama!!
If that quick little summary didn’t convince you to read this book yet then keep reading because there are so many things to love about this book. For some reason I have always avoided books about dragons. I always imagined stories about dragons would be all… in a time long long ago there was a kingdom blah blah princes blah blah dragons… ok maybe I’m being a little harsh there but that’s not really my thing. Luckily, I chose this as my first book about dragons because it is nothing like that. It’s set in the contemporary world and I thought it would be intriguing to see how the author explained the existence of people who can shift into dragons in this world. The answer is satisfying and made me wish it was true. The more I read, the more I became invested in this secret, magical world and all the characters in it.
Now the magical world where people who turn into dragons was enough to keep me reading but then you have to throw in some romance… and I mean mega romance. Kai and Rhys clearly have some chemistry right from the start but when you throw in heartswearing all bets are off. Being heartsworn is, as Kai put it, like marriage…but dragon style. Basically, you don’t really get a choice of who it’s with…you find out by touching someone. When the bond is completed they’re both stronger and have a connection. If Kai chooses not to kiss Rhys in order to complete the bond then she may be able to go back to her old life but Rhys would probably die. If that wasn’t enough, his death could mean that the dragon war would spill into the human world causing the end of humanity. Clearly having romantic feelings for a cute guy who you find out is a dragon is not enough drama!
So far we have a fantastic magical world hidden from society, a mega romance filled with all kinds of drama…what more could you want from a book? Well don’t worry Soul of Smoke has even more. No life altering decision would be complete without some action and drama. Rhys and his friends are currently at war with some pretty evil dragons who basically want to take over the world. Learning about this war and how these dragons prepare and fight kept me turning the pages just as much as the romance did. Getting to know everyone made me invested in their struggle and we get to see how this affects Kai as well. I can keep going with the praise for this book but where would the fun in that be. The last bit of wisdom that I have is to say that if you find any aspects of this book interesting then pick up this book! Add it to the top of all your lists because the author, Caitlyn McFarland, does a spectacular job of drawing you into the magic, romance, and the drama.