Saturday, December 24, 2011

To Slay a Dragon, or Not to Slay a Dragon

We live our lives not really knowing what our legacy is. Who were our ancestors? What features have we inherited from them? What kind of lives did they live? C.J. Hill's book Slayers illustrates those questions as they are asked by a group of teenagers who find out their legacy is that they were born as dragon slayers and must save the world from an ancient menace that is about to be returned to the world.

Tori is a senator's daughter, which is about all the attention she can handle. But what she can't get out of her mind is this attraction to everything dragon she can find. Unfortunately, it isn't a fondness for dragons, but rather a deep-seeded need to kill them. When she finds Dragon Camp, she is sure it will be some silly camp where they run around with foam swords and learn about the dragon mythology she has read for years. What she isn't prepared for is a secret part of the camp reserved for the few kids just like her- the slayers. 

Tori learns she is a descendent of the ancient slayers and while her mother was pregnant, she came within miles of a dragon egg. That triggered something in Tori's, and the other slayers', DNA and gave them powers. Those powers only activate when in the vicinity of a dragon, so at the camp they have a simulator to practice with and train for the inevitable battle. With the descendent of an ancient Dragon Lord nearby, they know the dragon eggs are being cared for until they hatch. When they finally hatch, the Dragon Lord will use them to take over the country. Dragon Lords have a mental connection to their dragons and can control one at a time. With a dragon in their control, and the EMP burst dragon roar's emit, they can easily convince the world to obey them by taking out a few key cities. When the slayers find the place the eggs have been stored, they decide to take a chance on destroying the eggs and ending the threat forever. What they aren't prepared for is the live dragons... or the fact that someone has been telling the Dragon Lord about the slayers and their training. With a mole in their midst, the slayers must find a way to save the world... but can they do it without paying with the biggest cost- their lives?

I like dragon stories; I am not going to lie. I don't obsess over dragon mythology. but it is fun when you come across a dragon centered book. I was wasting time in Oblong when I found this gem and was excited to start it. The story is a different take on most dragon mythology, especially with the difference between the dragon slayers and and lords. The most interesting part was how the dragons can incubate their eggs for either 20 years or 150 years, depending on what they foresee in their future. If they are threatened by something, their eggs can go into hibernation for 150 years until times are safe for them to be born. Overall, this was a really interesting twist on the old dragon myths we are used to. It seems like this is a start of a series, so I am looking forward to the rest of the slayer's adventures.

C.J. Hill is apparently the pseudonym of YA romance novelist who wanted a new name for the new genre. Her publicist suggested it might get her more of a chance of breaking out into a new genre, but it didn't take a very long internet search to find out who C.J. Hill really was (*cough* Janette Rallison *cough*). Personally, I think the story of the book will appeal to whoever it appeals to, regardless of what the author has written before. It seems like a silly publicity stunt when the book really can handle itself. Young Adult readers (and those of us who shamelessly still read young adult lit even though we are so far from being young adults it makes us hang our heads in shame!) don't need to be tricked. Just write a good book and if they are interested in the topic, they will read it! This book is great for any middle reader through middle aged dragon lover! It is a fun story everyone will enjoy... especially when you spot something peculiar flying over your house one night!

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