When we last left our hero she was stuck in a flipped over pickup truck, and the dragon that saved her life, just transformed into her dad. Elena narrowly avoids seeing her dad naked. She spent the whole last chapter saying dragons aren’t real, so now she’s convinced its a dream.
My mind went crazy with words like “dragon,” and “Dad,” and “dragon” again—thoughts that would land me in the nuthouse if spoken out loud.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but damn if it didn’t make me laugh. Yup. Dad is a word that’s going to land you in a nuthouse.
Her dad apologizes and then helps her out of the truck. Now free of the wreckage she asks the most pressing question.
“Dad?” I grabbed his arm, and he turned back around to face me. “Are more dragons coming for us?”
Okay, there’s a very logical reaction. I don’t know, often times you have your main character responding in stupid ways to stressful situations. I just wanted to commend this… before… uh… I get nasty again.
He tells her he doesn’t know, and then we get a little bit of a tease.
“Matt, Herbert here. We got attacked my dragons.” Dad spoke fast and listened for a few seconds. He walked away from me, facing the truck. “No… I told you, not over the phone.” He spoke softly. “We are stuck on Interstate Forty, just met us and please hurry…I don’t know if more are coming.”
So, here’s the good ol’ here’s a chance to clear up the mystery. There’s no reason to not tell Matt over the phone, other than to keep the mystery going. Fine, that’s what you’re going for. I get why there is a mystery, but don’t know, you’re pushing it.
He explains he wanted to do things right and ease her into this. He tells her that he loves her, and that’s the moment we know he’s absolute fucking gonner.
Sure, we know that because of the summary, but that’s like that, “yeah, he’s literally going to die in the next few pages.”
What is he not telling me?
Did we not just establish this over and over again? Has this not been a huge point of contention for years? Did you not just have a major blow up about this? Whatever. What do I know?
They’re interrupted by a screech and then he tells Elena to run. Her dad transforms into a dragon again.
I didn’t even have time to say goodbye or “I love you.” All I could do was what he asked, and I started to run.
I’ll admit, having just lost people in my life, this is absolutely gut-wrenching. We know he’s gonna die. She clearly knows something bad is going to happen. It just tugs on my heart in a way that it didn’t the first time I read it.
Elena runs, and trips, and then runs some more, and then trips again.
Another screech comes, and there’s fire that lights up the road. The red dragon shows up again. She describes this dragon as having a beautiful face, which honestly… I misread the situation. See, the summary says…
The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her.
I was 99% sure that this was going to be the cutest guy at school. I was amped to see this evil dude in action, and just experience the hell Elena was going to have to go through knowing that the guy who killed her father and all the drama associated with that. Not only that, but I assumed that the evil dragon was also the prince.
That one falls squarely on my shoulders for completely misunderstanding the second part. However, I stand firmly by the fact that it’s really easy to interpret that the red dragon could be that guy. And honestly, how cool would that have been?
This, dear reader, is not the case. This red dragon never shows up again.
As Elena runs more and gets snatched up by the dragon. He starts to fly away with her. She’s now absolutely sure she’s going to die. She can’t breathe, everything is too loud. Then, something hits the red dragon.
I tumbled through the air. A vague vision of another dragon snapping at the red dragon came into view. The red dragon breathed fire that lit up the sky. The two dragons became smaller as I descended. My heart beat so fast. Then everything went black and all became silent.
Honestly how else am I supposed to interpret that? I honestly don’t see how it’s possible she survives the fall. It’s… weird, and just sort of nonsense.
If it were me, I might have ended the first chapter here. It’s the end of the time in the normal world, and maybe the chapter would have been long, but it makes more sense to me, personally.
When Elena wakes up she is unable to tell where she is. There are four figures standing over her. We hear that one person is named Constance and has a British accent and there’s another named Master Longwei with an “Asian” accent.
Ah yes, the singular Asian accent. The accent of the largest continent in the world with 48 countries. She clearly means an East Asian accent, based on the name, and what I know of the story. A western or central Asian accent would sound very different. Cuz, you know… the western end is Saudi Arabia, Turkey… everything up until Africa.
We learn Elena can’t move. Well, I’m assuming that’s because she died at the end of that previous section and now is a ghost.
British lady says something, and one of the figures disappears.
“There’s something else you need to know,” a man who sounded vaguely American said to my right. “She has the mark. It’s a dark one too.”
Okay, let’s unpack this. Uh, I realized that I have no idea where Elena was living before this. It seems to be America, but it’s never actually stated, as far as I remember. If I’m wrong, correct me.
Second of all, I was 99% sure that this was a bad thing. I was absolutely sure that the mark was a bad thing, and that was why it had been hidden from Elena. That was probably the author’s intention. It’s so ingrained in so many people that dark=bad, and I was sure that this was just another occurrence of that.
“But you said that her father was a dragon,” the Asian man said, sounding confused.
“How is that possible, Matt?” the British woman asked
“I don’t know, Constance. I told you everything I know.”
First of all, I like this as a story beat, it’s laying down more questions for the reader.
Second of all, who the fuck just said that last sentence?
Yes, I know Constance, our British lady just said Matt’s name, but you can’t just do that. You need to tag the dialogue. In a writing, you can leave off dialogue tags if there are only two people involved.
“I am talking,” said person one.
“And now I am,” replied person two.
“We are continuing our conversation.”
“Yes we are, and we are quite pleased about what we are discussing.”
You know that each one of them is taking turns. Now, let’s say a third person steps in. You would need to mark that, just like in this case. Because in the context of the scene, it’s technically Master Longwei, the Asian man, who just answered her.
This dialogue tag nonsense is part of the reason why I DNF’d the followup book to the series the Beam series, which starts with Moonbeam. It was also 9 kinds of confusing and I kind of just…
We get more whitespace, which, what’s the point? Why are there three sections? There would be a 1% difference to the chapter. Okay, chapter 2 would be 1% shorter, that’s true, and chapter 2 is insanely short, but let the short chapter be short.
Chapter one is 3% of the book. Chapter two is 2% of the book.
It’s just kind of massively jarring to me to have 3 sections like this?
I’m totally nitpicking, I know, but this is all about my opinion, and that’s just what I think.
Like a smart person, Elena wakes up and rips out her IV. Constance shows back up, and we learn she’s got pretty cool light grey eyes. Yes, that’s important, but not for a while.
Constance does some checks on her, and Elena finally asks where her dad is.
Constance won’t tell her what’s up and Elena puts the pieces together. She asks if he’s dead. I think we all know the answer. I mean, the author already told us.
“No,” I said in a soft whisper, and a tear rolled down my cheek and landed on the white linens of my bed. My throat closed up, and I struggled to breathe.
Again, Woods does this seriously well. It’s a very raw, and very real. That’s pretty much the reaction I had when I lost my godfather. So more kudos for her.
We go through Elena’s mourning for a couple paragraphs, and then we get to finally learn Constance’s name formally, and just how long Elena has been here.
“My name is Constance. You came to us two days ago. Do you remember?”
Categorically Constance is my favorite character through the series. She’s got such a tragic backstory, but she’s such a kind and generous soul. Constance is a beautiful, amazing person, and she does get the Happily Ever After she needs and deserves.
We get the answer that the dragons killed Herbert, Elena’s dad and that Matt caught her before she hit the ground, though I’m not really sure how unless they were super high up in the air, which it’s hard to determine. Matt works with the FBI, and there were no survivors other than the two of them.
Dragons have to register with… someone, it’s not clear. Elena at least acknowledges that the answers bring more questions. She tells Constance she had no idea her dad was a dragon, and only found out that night.
Then something hits her. She has no idea where she is.
“You’re inside Paegeia. It’s a world—”
“I know about Paegeia.” I didn’t know what ot make of it.
Except, no. Bitch, you don’t know about Paegeia. You said you only vaguely remember the stories and we know nothing about this place. You haven’t proved you know jack shit. And as we move on, we learn that yeah, I’m right. She doesn’t know anything.
Also, inside Paegeia? That’s a weird way to say it. Are we underground? No. I can tell you that for sure. So… wouldn’t it just be… in Paegeia?
So, Elena even mentions to herself that the stories are foggy, and all she can remember is the words “The Bermuda Triangle.”
The wall gets mentioned again, and we learn that when humans can leave after they go past the Wall. The Wall continues to intrigue me. Is it magical? Is it physical? Why can’t humans go back out? Is this why people constantly disappear in The Bermuda Triangle? I want to know more!
Before she can ask anything she starts crying. Constance starts to comfort her.
Constance spoke cautiously. “I’m sorry to ask you this, Elena, but did your father ever mention the mark of the Dragonians?”
I snapped my head up and stared at her. “The what?”
“Your mark is of true significance on this side,” she continued. “One as dark as yours, well, let’s just say that dragon children don’t bear something that special.”
Ten points from Constance. Way to start explaining the concept and completely avoid explaining it for a dramatic reveal later. There’s no reason she shouldn’t tell her now? She makes it clear she doesn’t know what a Dragonian is. So just keep it vague. That’s fine.
So Elena finally asks the next obvious question.
“What, if Dad was a dragon, am I—” I said in a panic, attempting to push myself back up to a sitting position.
“No.” She giggled, and helped me back down onto the bed. Sorry, Constance mouthed and took a deep breath. “You would’ve known by now if you were a dragon.” She pulled the blankets back over me. “I think that’s enough for one night, don’t you?”
Elena realizes it’s 3 in the morning and then proceeds to lay back to fall asleep.
WE WERE SO CLOSE. THERE’S NO REASON NOT TO GET MORE ANSWERS OTHER THAN IT’S THE START OF THE BOOK.
This absolutely drives me mad. Elena lies to Constance just so we won’t get answers. This isn’t tantalizing, this is annoying. There’s no reason she wouldn’t tell Constance she doesn’t know much about Paegeia other than to keep us in the dark. She finally has the chance to get answers and she shuts down her chances.
This makes absolutely no sense. Up until this point all Elena has wanted is answers. From what we’ve seen this goes entirely contradictory to her personality. The biggest personality trait that we can get from Elena is that she has a burning need to know the truth.
She only doesn’t ask to serve the plot.
It just… bugs me like crazy.