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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Dragon Thief by Blake and Raven Penn is a fantasy adventure novel and the first book in The Skystone Chronicles series. Asher, a teenage magi, tragically loses his mother to the Black Valkyrie, a notorious Mage Hunter. He and his father then take in two siblings, Kai and Kari, who have also lost their parents to a group called the Knights of the Torch, a dangerous collective of magi. As Asher and Kai attempt to raise money to keep their family safe, they find themselves caught up in a heist gone wrong, and soon after, the Drekai, dragon-like creatures, invade. They seek a magic dragon egg stolen by King Rodan, and the Knights of the Torch must find it before the Black Valkyrie does. Asher decides to join them on their quest, both to stop the Black Valkyrie and to make sure those responsible for his mother's death atone for it.
“How about how you blame yourself for your mom's death? That's why you're here, isn't it? It's not for revenge, Asher. It's regret.” Dragon Thief by Blake and Raven Penn is an exceptionally crafted debut in a new fantasy series, chock-full of all of the hallmarks required from an entry novel with the added bonus of a uniquely assembled hero's journey. Sure, the protagonist has the same name as me and that makes me feel pretty darn happy, but the double-edged sword is that if this book wasn't as great as it is, it could have been summed up with a dumpster fire of personal insult. Asher is a guy we all want to root for, and the alternating point-of-view characters allow for the same intensive character development. As a result, we are able to immerse ourselves as readers in the world and better understand the motivations of other characters, the standout to me being Kai, who is a firecracker. The alternating points of view also flesh out the war that is inevitable, especially in scenes such as the meeting between a Drekai leader and the king's brother, Aradan. This is where the writing shines brightest and as I have now been roped into the series, I look forward to seeing where the Penns take it next.