Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review.
The notion of dragons taking human form may not be new but it is given an interesting history here. Knowledge of dragons and druids seems to be common knowledge, even if only as rumour or scary stories. As she and Lachlann travel together and their relationship develops, Evie learns what parts hold some truth and how much is left unknown to outsiders.
Told from Evie's perspective, the book does draw you in quickly. In the opening chapters, it's impossible not to feel for her as she is dragged from the world she thought she knew and humiliated before her entire village. Once she is out in the wild and introduced to Lachlan, she gradually becomes more self-reliant and able to stand up for herself. Lachlann tends to be more guarded, keeping some secrets from Evie which does sometimes make him a little more difficult to get a handle on. But, for the most part, they are sympathetic and easily relatable.
The relationship between the main two characters is well done, moving from Evie’s initial mistrust of Lachlann and her disbelief when he claims to have dreamed of her to an effective partnership, culminating in the two of them leading a sneak attack against those that threaten them. By the end of the book it’s easy to see what each of them gets from the other and why things play out as they do.
Aside from the central conceit of shapeshifting dragons, the world of The Dragon Cager doesn’t seem that different from ours, albeit of a couple of hundred years ago. In fact, Evie’s village is described as being in England and Lachlann speaks with a Scottish accent so it could easily be considered as an alternate reality.
The Dragon Cager is a quick, imaginative read and, for the most part, very enjoyable. The main issue I had with this novel is that the ending felt very rushed to me. While the build-up is given plenty of space to develop, the finale seems crammed into the last 2-3 chapters. Which is a shame since there is enough here to warrant more.
4 out of 5 hidden heritages.