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Book two of the Dragonlands series by Megg Jensen

Book Review: Hunted

Hutton's Bridge has been freed of the fog, but all is not well. The secrets of the village have now been revealed, and those who would look to gain are gathering. Tressa, who escaped the fog, rushes to secure the interests of her village. But the residents are gone. To find out where they've gone, she seeks the yellow dragon – the Queen of the Sands. On the journey, she is thrown into emotional turmoil. The curiosities run deeper than she can imagine. And Bastian, Tressa's long-time love, has his own problems to deal with. His friend, Connor, has been changed, but he is alive which is more than they could have hoped for. Can Bastian coerce Connor into helping search for the missing residents of Hutton’s Bridge? And will they react in time to help Tressa? The lost residents may rely upon it.

This is the second part of Megg Jensen’s Dragonlands series. Here we step onto the wider world, albeit through the eyes of the same characters: Tressa and Bastian. This is a natural extension of the first book, and it steps along the story-path in a natural and intriguing way. If you’ve read the first book, this is worth picking up, especially since it’s free. A good little read.

In this edition, the world is opened up, and the wider intrigues start to come into focus. Tressa goes off in one direction, to the desert and  the Yellow Queen, with her new friend and potential love interest, Jarrett. Meanwhile, her existing love interest, Bastian, is stuck back in the Drowned Lands with a dragon-Connor, and his own love intrigue. Cue the love-triangle complexities. Oh, and there is also a hunt for the residents of Hutton’s Bridge and the mysterious honey that is so valuable…

So, how does it stack up? Well, as the second book in a series, we should know what to expect, and it certainly lives up to that. It actually feels remarkably consistent with the first book, when sometimes we might notice the writing evolution. It is a well written and edited book, and despite jumping between the two main characters, it’s easy to follow. It’s also easy to drop and pick back up again, with suitable cues in place.

The characters are also pretty good and they get your interest. They may not be the most complex characters in the world, but that would be out of keeping with the novel. Tressa is a likeable girl with a trusting side and a remarkable (if not slightly overwhelming) capacity for acquiring new skills. She is put through some tough times, coming through them, and importantly, we are rooting for her.
Bastian, by contrast, is a bit of an oaf, but his journey is also fun. He is a little unwittingly dumb at times, which can be frustrating, but her certainly has his place. Let’s hope he grows up a bit in future books!

There is also plenty left open, which is pretty essential in a series. Although much was answered in this book, wider intrigues are coming slowly into view, not least the mysterious honey (it sounds so innocent!) That in itself encourages you to read on.

So, was there anything that left me flat?

One thing that is a bit frustrating is that we’ve been booted from the deliciously enclosed Hutton’s Bridge – literally as isolated as its possible to be – and thrown into a big bad and intriguing world. Not necessarily a bad thing, and although this wide world serves its purpose, it does somehow feel … small. Although there are questions left unanswered, I’m not left with a bamboozling sense of scale, which is exactly how I’d expect Tressa to feel. A tough one for sure, but worth mentioning.

There are also a few little things in the writing that just distance the book somewhat, and I think this detracts from the experience. It’s easy to push past these and the book is still a good one, but it is a shame.

In terms of the plot itself, there was really only one thing that left me distinctly cold. There is a series of events where (without wanting to spoil the story) a throne is captured, then lost, and then recaptured again. Now, in my head, taking a throne is quite a big deal. But here, it felt more like a trip to the shops. Sure, there was a bit of traffic on the way, but that was the extent of the challenge. It might be linked to the “small-feeling world” point above, but it just tasted a bit strange to me.

Nonetheless, this is a good read, and I look forward to the next one (not least because it’s already downloaded as part of a free bundle!) Time to find out what that mysterious honey is all about…