The Last of the Firedrakes by Farah Oomerbhoy is the first book in The Avalonia Chronicles, as well as being Oomerbhoy’s debut novel. It follows the adventures of Aurora Darlington as she is whisked away into a magical land and a heritage she never knew was hers.
I have mixed feelings about this book, which tends to happen to me with debut novels. I’m just going to lay my thoughts out from good to bad…
The Good: I LOVED the world of Avalonia. The descriptions were fantastic and abundant, but in just the right amount so that it didn’t get overwhelming. Everything was so well imagined from the landscape to the lodging, clothing, food, and society. The setting and detail were by far my favorite aspects of the story. My second favorite was Aurora’s inherited magical ability. I loved reading about her discovery of these powers and the growth that followed.
There are also a bunch of great side characters, my favorites being Kalen and his mother Penelope Plumpleberry. Rafe, also known as the Black Wolf, was charming, as well. If you are a fan of the sexy Robinhood type, you will definitely love Rafe! (Though he did fall pray to some of the pitfalls that drove me crazy. More on that in a moment…)
The Neutral: The writing was fairly simplistic, which is not necessarily a bad thing depending on your target audience. I think I would have easily read this as a Middle Grader. In fact, I can picture it fitting in quite well on my Ella Enchanted shelf.
The Bad: By the end of the story, Aurora started to drive me CRAZY with her various bad decisions and the occasional bought of neurotic inner dialogue. I don’t want to get too spoilery so I won’t go into specifics, but there were several times when her inner dialogue would be pulling her one way and her actions would yank her in the opposite direction. The more this happened, the less I sympathized with Aurora and her path.
As I eluded to earlier, Rafe also fell prey to some mind-boggling decisions, though not as many as Aurora. I wish I could just knock their heads together to put them on the same page. I do understand the draw of tension and obstacles, especially toward the beginning of a series, but the incomprehensible logic behind some of these conflicts made them seem forced and trivial.
Despite my frustrations at the end, I’m glad I gave The Last of the Firedrakes a try because the world that Oomerbhoy created was truly delightful. I’m hoping that the rest of the series comes out soon so that Aurora will get to use some more of those badass powers she’s been developing!
(This ARC was provided through Net Galley for an honest review.)