I won a copy of the sequel to this book from Epic Reads and figured I should read this one first; however, having gotten through it, I am second guessing whether I want to continue the series.
I was really excited about this series because I thought, "hey...dragons", and also, "female lead with mystical abilities". Sounds like a recipe for a good time. The first chunk started off well enough. I liked the premise of the story and the main character, Melissa, was tolerable.
But as I continued through this beast of a book, the narration dragged on and on and Melissa got more annoying by the page. She was hard to relate to and her lack of horror and empathy for the violence she witnessed was intolerable.
Also, at some points the book just felt like page after page of descriptions of dragon torture or violent massacres. The amount of violence was not balanced out by Melissa's actions and I spent the second half of the book completely hopeless that anything was going to end up decently.
I really did not want to finish this book. The descriptions of dying dragons made me sick and what was worse was Melissa's reaction, or lack of reaction, to the majority of the torture. I am glad I stuck around despite the cliff hanger ending, but I'm still not sure if I care enough to read the sequel.
Also, growing up as an American female, I don't think I ever used the word "whore" as casually as Melissa and the other characters do. The amount of slut-shaming in this book is ridiculous. Doing absolutely anything as a female in the book earns you the title "whore". When I read a book with a female lead, I want one who's active and actually uses her brain, not someone who just bops around insulting other women and making assumptions about their sexuality, while countless acts of violence are being committed around her to which she responds with mild anger.
The writing was descent and I stand by that the premise of the book was good. I would have liked more backstory, but there was enough of a starting point to launch from. I have seen a few reviews compare this book to The Hunger Games. There are similar elements from The Hunger Games (government conspiracy, female pawn, media lenses, forced love/relationships), but the violence in this book came off as more random and unnecessary instead of important aspects of the plot.