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Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite
Dragons Walk Among Us by Dan Rice is a mesmerizing urban fantasy with a gripping plot and sophisticated characters. Shutterbug Allison Lee is having a hard time in high school, bullied and abused by tougher, more popular girls. But she has something that gives her hope: her gift for photography which is getting some recognition. Perhaps her future is in photography? She is friends with a homeless man named Joe and while visiting him, she is attacked and now she cannot see. This event upends her life and plunges her into depression as she knows that her dream of becoming a great photographer is gone. When she is offered experimental treatment that might restore her vision, she desperately accepts it. But there are consequences to the procedure and they include seeing strange things like dragons in the company of people she meets. As she navigates through her new experiences, she must determine whether she is going nuts or has a supernatural gift. The journey leads to unexpected places and has hidden gems and twists for readers.
This enjoyable story is well-crafted with a female protagonist that is not just lovable but adorable. Allison Lee’s struggles are real and the author writes social issues that resonate with young adult readers, including bullying and the need to belong. The crisis is heightened when Allison Lee is bereft of the one thing that once gave purpose to her life: the ability to see. Her emotions are meticulously written and her humanity, though broken, shines out strongly in the story. I rooted for her through every page of the narrative. Dan Rice’s novel is imaginative and the world-building is constructed to deliver an experience that is both mysterious and enchanting without losing the realism that makes it relatable to readers. Dragons Walk Among Us is an exciting, suspenseful, and entertaining story that opens the portal to fantasyland for readers.