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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
In Season of the Dragon by Natalie Wright, Quen Tomo Santu stands apart from the people of Solia due to her Nixan, a changeling's "shadow soul" that harbors the potential to grow from calm to calamity. Though her father instilled in her the virtues of tranquillity, everyone living thing, including animals, flee from her presence. Quen's father wishes for her to study at Pillar of the Way of Water, yet her destiny takes an unexpected turn with the arrival of Kentaro Nevara, a commanding mage of the dragon cult. Bound by her late mother's promise, Quen is obliged to accompany Nevara, who pledges to aid her in mastering her Nixan's initial metamorphosis, warning her that tragedy will follow unless she complies. In the wake of a vicious dragon attack that claims the life of someone dear to her, Quen and her brother Rhoji set off with a group of vigilantes on a perilous quest to vanquish the dragon.
“I want people I love to be free from harm. I won’t be responsible for more death.” Season of the Dragon by Natalie Wright is the first book in the epic fantasy Dragos Primeri series, and it is an ambitious one at that. Wright paces the novel at a speed that allows for the necessary backstory and worldbuilding to occur as we learn what we must in a new fantasy adventure, and she achieves this without compromising the novel's most important themes. It's not uncommon for a fantasy plot to be swallowed up by unnecessary detail and lengthy information dumps, but Wright avoids these with the polish and panache of a truly gifted storyteller. I love that we are able to actually witness Quen's metamorphosis in this first installment of the series. It is not a dangling carrot, it is a deeply moving transformation that has a traumatic impact both physically and emotionally for Quen, and also for another for whom she has intense feelings. Season of the Dragon is a beautifully woven coming-of-age hero's journey, complete with good and bad players, a bit of romance, and an ending that won't have you cursing over a cliffhanger.