Bright Star

Tor Teen. Aug. 2019. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765392992.
Gr 9 Up–Elf, dragon, and human kingdoms have shared the land of Paerolia for centuries, but times are changing across the kingdoms. For centuries, females have been forbidden to participate in the Pairing Ceremony, where young dragons choose their Riders, and the human council of judges is in danger of being overthrown by a tyrant. When a young girl named Andra surreptitiously observes the annual Pairing ritual and inadvertently attracts the attention of an extraordinarily rare dragon, tragedy and warfare ensue. After being forcibly removed from her home, Andra joins the elves, wild dragons, and humans in open rebellion to the status quo. She must choose between the person she was and the person she might be, with all the corresponding consequences for either choice. The relationships are well drawn between the main characters and are particularly engaging between the Paired dragons and their Riders. Swan depicts a society in transition with undercurrents of feminism, racism, and oppression in a dynamic world blended with the pragmatic and the magical.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of Rachel Hartman’s “Seraphina” series and Leigh Bardugo’s “Shadow and Bone” trilogy

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