(first published November 4th 2010)
I chose this book and bought a copy because I won the second in the series in First Reads through Goodreads and I just had to read the first in the series! Although I do enjoy dragon stories, I may not have selected this book to read without some other motivation, personally I prefer Westerns or horse books, and I must say that without this author and these books my reading experience has been lacking.
I enjoyed the fresh and subtle plot and the twists along the way which kept me engaged. I love, love, love the detailed descriptions and the colorful language (which was used as a point to separate the classes and was distained to the point of humor). The characters and made up creatures were fun and believable in a fantasy sort of way and I felt a true connection to the heroine, Jennifer Strange. One of the best elements of this story in my humble opinion is the melding of old and new. Medieval dragons, trolls, [and what in the world is a Quarkbeast?] and magic all combined in a world of cars, telephones, and computer code is just cool. And I appreciated the very hidden messages of conservation, loyalty, and standing up for one's own beliefs.
I quickly got into the story as young Jennifer, an orphan, a foundling indentured into work as manager of magic in the aging hotel full of mostly retired sorcerers. She faces her challenges with wit and courage that belies her age. I laughed with her, I feared for her, and I grieved as she faced her greatest challenge.
I recommend this book to young people, it will expand your horizons, and to adults, it will renew your belief in goodness.