Last book review for the year, and last one for today! I will see you tomorrow for the end of the year count down!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Bright Star by Erin Swan
Synopsis From The Book
Paerolia has been at peace for two centuries, and all is well in the land―or so it seems. Beneath the surface, a tyrant is rising to power.
A traumatic experience in Andra’s childhood has left her mute and subdued, a servant in the Chief Judge’s manor. But when an assassination team, led by the secretive and alluring Kael, infiltrates the manor and makes a quick escape, she takes her chance and flees with them.
Andra is thrust into the ranks of a secret rebellion―a group of outcasts and believers seeking to overthrow the Chief Judge and replace the corrupt government with new members, ones who will restore and preserve the land they love. Now, the girl who was once an outcast must somehow become the leader Paerolia needs. But she is stronger than she believes―and with the help of a fiercely loyal dragon, she may just be the one to lead them all to victory.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I’ve been holding on to this book for what feels like forever now. I know that this book has to involve dragons more than the others ones I’ve read lately have. I need to believe it. I was supposed to get dragon-ed out. Instead it looks like I have simply read a lot of books.
Either way, this was a book from my Unicorn Crate (in September? I think so?) I have little fear that it will be a good book. Unicorn Crate never seems to let me down! Watch, one day it will now, now that I have so much faith.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
HOLY. I was expecting dragons, but I go DRAGONS. All the dragon riders. All the conversations with them. All the politics surrounding them. I loved every moment. Once more I had a few choice words written in my notes, about Andra’s life. It’s tragic, but so much of the book makes up for it. I loved reading this from start to finish.
We begin the story with Andra, and how she and a boy Talias. She and Talias are watching a dragon meet with the prospective dragon riders for the first time, and their minds are touched by a dragon. A few days later the dragon returns with three eggs, but one does not bound with anyone because of Andra spying. She is cast out back to her old home, and speaks out against the young master of the home. Her mother is killed in her insolence, and Andra vows never to speak again.
A year later Andra is sexually abused by that young master constantly, and has never spoken a word since her mother’s death. One night she leaves the man’s room and rinds the castle under attack. The attackers kill the man and kidnap her. She learns that they are part of a resistant group trying to reform the corrupt human governments. Their names are Alik, Coleman, and Kael. Kael is a dragon rider.
She travels with them, and in their travels tries to escape twice. On the second attempt she meets a two wild dragons. One she recognizes as the purple dragon who failed to bond and learns that the dragon was supposed to be her partner. From there she starts traveling in earnest with the men and dragons back to their headquarters, learning to fight from them.
She and Kael develop a bond with each other, after he sees the way she was tormented in her years of capture. Upon arriving at the headquarters, Bellris, Andra learns that Kael is the leader of the rebellion. For weeks she trains in magic, fighting, and learns more about those in the rebellion. Kael helps release Andra from her slave collar and they grow closer. One day they get word that the soldiers from the human kingdom are going to attack them and Andra is told to run.
She decides to fight, thinking back to an odd encounter she had with a small dragon, and helps the battle end with the rebellion winning. However, many of their friends die. Andra and Kael go to the elven kingdom to ask for aid, and are told they will hopefully get it. Kael and Andra, also decide to try to kill the head of the snake, by killing the man the corrupt government wants to make a new Emperor. In their task, Andra is captured and Kael is only free because of her.
Kael returns back to the elves to learn that he will have the elves, and dwarves backing for an attack. Andra is tortured by Kael’s brother who is the true leader of the corrupt human government. Kael rescues her, and the two flee back to the elves. They get married on the eve of the final battle. The day of the election, Andra petitions for the Riders to side with her. War breaks out and the rebellion wins.
In the aftermath of the rebellion, new rules are established and decided. Additionally, all the Riders give their vows. When it comes to Andra, she vows to protect all people not just the humans. She will not be under anyone’s control ever again. She and Kael then go to his post in the neutral elven city, so they may live happily.
What I Liked:
Andra; Her life is so tragic and I was not ready for it. Her father and mother died to protect her. She was hurt by those in power her who life, and she became the hero. She got free. She got the dragon. She got the boy. She became happy and for that I am eternally happy for her. I loved reading the story from her perspective.
Kael; I liked seeing a hero who was leading the rebellion at a young age, who was not our lead MC. I also loved watching him fall in love with Andra. While she loved him second, his falling for her was brilliant. His life was tragic in a different way. His father used his mother, in a way, and his brother grew up corrupt. He had a different sort of rough life. I do wish them both happiness.
Dragons; All the dragons! I loved them! We had two dragons for the main leads. They had just as much personality as the humans, and this is the best part. The dragon connection, lore, magic, everything that made them beautiful.
Magic system; There was a magic system, based on those who can let out magic naturally, versus those who can not. Along with words, natural, or dark magic. I loved reading this system and seeing it at play. It was written in latin words, which was interesting to read.
Government systems; We got to see a bit on the free, the humans, the elves, and the dwarves. We got to see bits and pieces of how they worked, specifically the human kingdom and the Judge system. I liked reading of the Judges who were essentially Dukes, or Kings, and ruled in an election system. Or were supposed to be, but were corrupt. It was nice to see.
Plot and Pacing; I like the way that this book’s plot flowed. I just felt that it was timed so perfectly for what was happening and when. I also liked the way that the plot progressed in the pacing. This was what made the book so good.
Writing style; Swan’s writing style was so fluid. I think her style was what made the plot and characters work so well together.
Other characters; I loved all the secondary characters and villains for their characterization and arcs. While the book was super focused on Andra, Kael, and their dragons, the other characters were nice to see developed as well as they did.
Tiri and Andra; This dragon and human pair was so beautiful. Watching them meet, remeet, and become the best of friends to sisters, to bonded. I loved watching it the entire way through. It was so well developed.
Kael and Andra; This relationship was perfectly placed with the pacing of the plot. I loved watching them fall in love. It was so wonderful and cute to watch. They are so great for each other, and make me happy.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I’ve got nothing.
I’m gonna rate it this high, because I was thoroughly entertained.
“And light will always banish the dark.” – pg 136
“Your heart can never truly be lost, Andra. You must simply choose to see where it is leading you.” – 174
‘And her words now would hold more power than they had ever held before.’ – pg 349