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(5 / 5) All the pretty stars! Put them up there, this one deserves it! I could not find one thing wrong with this book. The characters are so different and meld perfectly together. I felt like I knew each one. They had strengths and weaknesses and both were played into the story. The dragons are exactly how I picture they should be; close with their handlers, loyal, tough but kind unless treated badly. Oh I loved the dragons. This is how all dragon books should portray dragons! There is excitement from page one and it continues throughout. Politics play a part, but it’s exciting politics involving the houses and the past and grudges and all sorts of good stuff. There is magic and adventure and small romance (yep that’s my jam) and intrigue all rolled up into one. The writing is enough to hook you from page one AND the story flows brilliantly throughout the pages. Go buy it. It’s out today and it’s phenomenal. I’m purchasing a hardback copy for myself because an ebook just won’t cut it.
Thank you immensely to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers and Jessica Cluess for the chance to read this outstanding book in exchange for an honest review.
House of Dragons (House of Dragons #1)
Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
Detailed Content Review
Derogatory terms and cursing unique to the book etc-
By the blue above
What the f—- (no curse word spelled)
Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking
Wine is served at dinner.
Wine is served at a party. Young men and young women partake. Servants and a young woman steal sips of brandy. A young man’s drink is poisoned with something to make him act more drunk.
A group of teens drink strong wine. They get very drunk.
Soldiers drink wine.
A man is given poison that leads to his death.
Intimacy, Sex, Immodesty
A young woman kisses a young woman. They have kissed once before. They kiss multiple times and declare their love. They kiss again.
A young man pulls his pants down and shakes his behind at his brother.
A young woman gently kisses a young man.
“…it was so hot his balls were sticking to the inside of his thighs.”
A young boy remembers a woman screaming as a man held her down. Servants pulled the boy away so the man could continue raping the woman.
A man propositions a young woman that if she gives (herself) that he will give too. Her father offers the man many women instead. “You’re a sweet tight little piece” that he’s sad he can’t have but will take 25 women in her place instead. “Take that filthy slug between your legs…I will have your balls on my mantel…” is her reply.
A young woman kisses a young woman deeply and travels kisses along her neck. They kissed many times, tongues reaching for tongue.
In a vision-like place, a young man sees his father in bed “defiling” a woman who was his mother but not the man’s wife.
A young woman kisses a young woman.
Violence, Weapons, Crime, Blood
A sister punches her twin brother, snapping his head back.
A young woman servant is kicked in the side then the stomach.
A young man punches a young man.
A young woman slices her sisters throat and watches as she sputters and sprays blood. Then her dragon swallowed her body. This is talked about multiple times.
A young woman’s magic’s forced her to explode objects, she once exploded a boy and killed him.
In a competition, the losers are killed and also their dragons.
When a young woman kisses a young man, her uncontrolled magic makes his lungs and heart explode, blood rushing into her mouth.
A young woman holds a knife to a young man’s throat.
A young woman fights a basilisk with a spear, the blood is acid. One young man looks in its eyes and it poisons him. There are many attempts to kill it. One person blinds it while another slices off its head.
A young woman fights a young man with a sword but he has no weapons. She stabs his stomach and blood leaks out as he falls over.
A young woman holds a man’s hand by stabbing him with her nails then squeezes his jaw telling him threats.
A young woman pins a man to the wall and puts her knee between his legs “mashing” his groin.
A young woman endured many beatings, slaps and more in childhood. She was forced to consume poison as part of her education.
A man puts his foot on a young woman groveling, pushing her into the ground and spit on her. Then grabs her hair and slaps her.
A young woman holds a sword to a man’s throat. She sliced his neck and watched him fall and ooze blood.
Two dragons fight in midair while their riders hang on. One shoots fire while the other rider tries to hide behind his dragon. They fight with claws and fire. Another dragon and rider try to intervene and crash into the dragon. The dragon shoots fire at another rider and dragon.
A teen boy talks of his first battle where they had to kill an entire village. He told of shooting fire on an old man and child and later finding their charred bodies. He thinks about this many times.
In a vision-like dream, a young man tries to put his body in between people and a dragon’s fire. A young woman dreams a man kicks her then lifts a sword to cut off a young man’s head. A young woman slices the head off another young woman.
A young woman sees a young woman get her tongue cut off, blood filling her mouth. They then bound the girl with nails to a table, they used boiling lead to blind her, then they cut open her stomach and pulled out her liver and intestines and tossed them in the fire. She died at some point. The young woman watching saw hundreds of charred bodies and bodies of herself and those she knew.
As a young man is arrested, his dragon is punished by having both eyes cut. Soldiers are exploded by magic, blood sprays everywhere.
A young woman is tied up with chains. “…break both your legs before we begin, right here, and flay you from the tips of your toes to the shattered joints of your knees. We’ll cut off your ears, as well, and every one of your fingers before we finish with you. Why? Because it will give us pleasure and for no other reason. Only after all that agony—and after we have set fire to your hair and blistered your scalp—only then will we allow you to die.”
A young woman takes a glass and breaks it then uses it to stab a man’s neck and eyes. Blood sprays. Then she holds a woman against the wall with the glass at her neck.
A man is stabbed in the stomach with a sword.
A young woman coughs up blood from using a lot of magic.
A young man and young woman fight with swords. One holds a sword to the others throat. A dragon spews fire, burning one man alive. A young woman orders her dragon to fire on buildings and people in a village. She smells their roasting flesh. Two dragons and their riders fight in the air, using claws and fire. One dragon is stabbed, blood raining down on others.
When using magic a young woman bleeds from her nose or coughs blood.
A young woman uses a dagger to “cut out her heart” she feels it cut her skin.
Potentially Intense Themes
A man dies and is eaten (by his dragon?)
A mother is killed in a battle, the husband sequesters himself and neglects the children in his grief.
A young man remembers two charred bodies at his feet in question mark shapes. He dreams about them regularly.
A basilisk is a reptile looking creature 15 ft tall and stands in two feet. It has sharp teeth.
A mother bangs herself after her daughter dies.
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