Enala doesn’t know why, but five years earlier her parents took her away from the city of Chole and have been raising her in Dragon Country ever since, her only friend a Golden dragon named Nerissa. But when an unauthorized adventure goes wrong, Enala decides to make a break for it and set off on her own back to the city.
“Dragon Born” is one of those high-action YA stories about a feisty young woman who doesn’t understand the restrictions placed on her and fights against them. In this case, these restrictions don’t appear to have anything to do with her being a girl, but for some other, as yet unexplained, reason. I have to say I enjoyed this aspect of the story: while I am fully cognizant of the need to show women overcoming the restrictions placed upon them, in fantasy, especially YA, it’s become such a cliche it hardly has any meaning any more. There are so many spunky young women overcoming the obstacles in their path it makes it seems like those obstacles are easily overcome if you just toss your head perkily enough. But I digress. Enala is impulsive and runs away from home on a whim, which is something adult readers who have completely forgotten their own adolescences may have a hard time understanding, but is likely to appeal to actual adolescents.
The world-building is only lightly fleshed out in this novella, but there are some intriguing hints at something promising here: the city of Chole is dying, although we have yet to find out why, and Golden dragons apparently live in harmony with humans, while Red dragons do not. Again, adult readers looking for complex, epic world-building may have more questions than answers, but YA readers are likely to enjoy it and to enjoy the quick pace and numerous action sequences throughout the novella. A fun, light read for fans of YA epic or sword-and-sorcery fantasy.