The Dragon Wakes is the story of Reva, Luca, Stefan, and Davead. Reva & Luca, betrothed at a young age & separated just as quickly, are living much different lives than they imagined for themselves at age 13.
Stefan, misguided & cruel, will do whatever necessary to overcome his horrible reputation & secure his spot as next in line for the throne. King Davead lives in fear of a prophecy that promises his life will be taken by a Menti, sorcerers possessing powers all along the spectrum of animal & elemental.
The first thing that struck me about this book is that Stefan & Davead's perspectives were both sparing & almost unnecessary to the plot. Our time with Davead in particular is so small that I think the page space could have been used more effectively with Stefan's perspective, which would have served to solidify his character a bit more.
I quite enjoyed when we flipped back to Reva or Luca, as the two of them were more fleshed out with perspectives that served to enhance the story.
I am partial to when prose is directly complimentary to a story. Dalton uses an unadorned style of writing which served well alongside her straightforward characterization. It took no time at all for me to become acquainted & sympathetic with Reva & Luca, to develop hatred for Stefan and skepticism of King Davead.
The story is told well & proceeds along a logical sequence of events.
My two major issues are:
1. This is a story I have read before. Maybe not every point is exact, but convoluted religions, selfish kings, & animal/elemental magic are nothing new in the world of Fantasy. When you choose to use one or more of these foundational Fantasy elements I think it's important to bring some striking or original aspect to the table to differentiate it from the millions of other books of the same genre.
I didn't necessarily find that in this book. As I mentioned, the story is told well enough & kept my attention throughout, it just didn't take me somewhere I've never been before.
2. There isn't enough depth. This mostly has to do with the world building. Though the story is told in multiple locations throughout the kingdom, it tends to feel very small in scope.
Only a few settings are fleshed out & so I didn't get a very firm sense of what kind of kingdom this story is set in. The Sisters of Enlightenment were an interesting concept, but once again I'm not sure why they exist, how their religion ties into their actions, or how they fit into the kingdom.
I also could've done with a bit more unpredictability. The course of the story began to feel like it could only turn out one way as I neared the end.
Overall, an enjoyable story with some notable moments. It's good, but could use a smidgen more originality to make it great!