(I am thrilled to be a part of the Storytellers on Tour Book Tour for this gorgeous book. Please check out the details for the giveaway, and picking up a copy for yourself. All of this can be found after my review.)
I recently decided that I needed to re-evaluate what it means to be a book reviewer. After reading Dragon Mage, I believe my review for this book will be first of its kind for me, focusing more on the impact the book had on me, and less as a critical analysis of the book. This shift will hopefully yield an appropriate merging of the book itself with my experience in reading it, along with the potential long-term impact it will have on me.
I feel that this book should mark my change for several reasons, but the most important is a message that is carried through nearly every page of the book. In the same way that Aram, the primary character, must discover who he is and then ultimately accept that his uniqueness is his superpower (as the author described in a recent article, linked here: https://fanfiaddict.com/2021/06/02/how-asd-became-my-superpower-neurodivergence-in-fiction/), embracing a review style that fits me is essential for my own mental and emotional health. Rather than stressing about writing reviews or feeling as though my reviews must conform to the style or frequency of other reviewers, I am choosing to write reviews that capture my experience as a reader.
Enough about me. Why did I love this book?
I was only a few pages into this book when I found myself instantly rooting for Aram. Perhaps it was that I saw a little of myself in this young boy who was different. Perhaps it was because I could see a glimpse of the uphill battle that awaited him. Perhaps it is because I love to cheer on the underdog. I loved him hard and fast.
I also quickly settled into the book in the same way one might settle into a warm bath after a long day. The writing style was not excessively flowery where I felt I had to read slowly to make sure I understood it, nor was it non-stop action that had me rushing through it. Rather, it had the feel of a pair of well-worn shoes, and there was something familiar and comfortable about it.
One thing I look for in what I read is well written characters. I want to feel as though I understand the characters. I want to be compelled by them. I want to sympathize with their struggles. I want to agonize over their decisions. I want to feel what is happening to them, sharing their grief and their joy. I want to care about what happens to them.
As I said earlier, I was rooting for Aram the whole time. This is really his story, and I was swept up and carried along for 800+ pages. I was proud of him when he was able to do something that no one expected him to do (especially himself). My heart broke when his heart broke. And I could relate to several of his behaviors and tendencies (such as separating food and needing tactile stimulation).
I was also inspired more deeply after I read an article by the author where she explained how similar she is to Aram, only without the magic. I want to thank the author for the courage she displayed in telling Aram’s story, and by extension her own story. I am also very curious to see more of this story that she still has to tell.
There was an intangible aspect that I want to end with. There were times when I felt as though this book could have been written just for me. It felt like the right book at the right time … and for me. If I had read it 6 months earlier, or two years from now, who knows, but it is what I needed to read now and I am so grateful that I did.
I highly recommend this book and I am so grateful to be a part of this tour to promote this book and its author. Please, please consider picking it up and read it for yourself. 4.6 out of 5 stars!
(Thank you to the author for sending a copy of the book. This did not skew my opinion but is nevertheless very much appreciated!)
To enter, just click this link. The winners will be chosen at random and the giveaway ends this Wednesday, June 23rd at 11:59pm, so enter now!