Daughter of the Serpentine by E. E. Knight: Engaging Characters

As a young dragoneer moves through the ranks of the prestigious Serpentine Academy, her challenges grow greater and her time grows short to draw out a series of deadly threats, in this thrilling coming-of-age fantasy novel.

Sixteen-year-old Ileth is now an Apprentice Dragoneer, with all of the benefits and pitfalls that her elevation in rank entails. But her advancement becomes less certain after she’s attacked by an unknown enemy, and Ileth begins to suspect that someone deadly may be hiding within the walls of the academy.

Outside of the walls there is a different challenge. The Rari Pirates are strangling the Vale Republic. What they lack in dragon firepower, they make up for in the brutality of their ever-expanding raids, making hostages or slaves of the Republic’s citizens. Surrounded by enemies, Ileth will need to learn what kind of dragoneer she wants to be. And as she makes decisions about her future, Ileth will have the chance to uncover the secrets of her past. Both will irrevocably change the course of her life.

I read the first novel in the series and truly enjoyed the main character Ileth along with those who aided her within the Academy. I wondered if the second novel would maintain the same pace and energy of the first book. Thankfully, the sequel is as satisfying and interesting as the first. Truthfully, I find the growth in Ileth one of the most engaging transformations of a character as she learns new skills and while always manages to be both smart and strong in spirit, she is never flat or boring as she comes more into her strengths and continues on her path as a Dragoneer. She is never perfect but she is always engaging.

While the secondary characters don’t have as much growth, they are placed in critical points in the story to help Ileth in her narrative or aid her in learning more about herself. They are never two dimensional, and not everyone acts as expected. And while the narrative does revolve around Ileth and her past, as we learn more about her mother and her origins, we also learn more about the world she lives in and the dragons themselves. The worldbuilding in the novel is detailed and gives the reader a very real sense of the life Ileth leads, both now as a Dragoneer and in her past.

Not every second novel maintains the same pace and energy of a first novel but E.E. Knight manages that feat with ease as he introduces new elements in Ileth’s change to Apprentice Dragoneer and new challenges. There is just enough blend of worldbuilding and action to keep the pace energetic and kept me engaged in the story. The dialogue and action together provided me with new information about the characters and the world without dragging the story down with endless details.

If you like dragons and fantasy with a diverse character that has unusual talents, this story is for you. I would recommend reading the first novel first as it helps but if you want to jump into the 2nd novel, it does provide enough details of the previous book to help a reader follow the story. As a reader, I loved this book and recommend it as a solid, engaging and strong second book in the series. I can’t wait to read the next and I highly suggest getting this one pre-ordered so the author can sell lots of copies

Rating: 5 out of 5 dragons

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