Voices of Dragons
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Voices of Dragons

4.2 120
by Carrie Vaughn

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On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon

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On one side of the border lies the modern world: the internet, homecoming dances, cell phones. On the other side dwell the ancient monsters who spark humanity's deepest fears: dragons.

Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows she's breaking the law by rock climbing near the border, but she'd rather have an adventure than follow the rules. When the dragon Artegal unexpectedly saves her life, the rules are abruptly shattered, and a secret friendship grows between them.

But suspicion and terror are the legacy of human and dragon inter­actions, and the fragile truce that has maintained peace between the species is unraveling. As tensions mount and battles begin, Kay and Artegal are caught in the middle. Can their friendship change the course of a war?

In her young-adult debut, New York Times bestselling author Carrie Vaughn presents a distinctly twenty-first-century tale of myths and machines, and an alliance that crosses a seemingly unbridgeable divide.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ancient myths come into conflict with modern technology in Vaughn's (the KittyNorville series) first YA novel. Although she's always lived in Silver River, Mont., on the border between human territory and the mountains ceded to the dragons after the last war, Kay has never seen a dragon up close. And for good reason: treaties forbid all contact. That changes when Kay meets Artegal, a dragon as curious about humans as Kay is about his species. Mutual interest blossoms into genuine friendship, in defiance of decades of border patrols and saber-rattling. Soon, they go from secret talks to secret flights, reviving long-lost traditions from when dragons and humans were friends, but while Kay and Artegal are bonding, others only want war between the species. Vaughn's story is charming and fast paced with a strong, likable heroine, although the narrative can hopscotch from moment to moment, focusing on Kay and Artegal to the detriment of the supporting characters; the abrupt ending blatantly sets up a sequel. Despite those drawbacks, there's plenty to enjoy in this girl-and-her-dragon twist on the forbidden friendship theme. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
ALA Booklist
“Vaughn creates characters worth visiting time after time.”
“Fun, fast-paced adventure”
Melanie Hundley
Do you believe in dragons? In this alternate history novel, Kay Wyatt lives on the border of the human world and Dragon. The human world has cell phones, school, the Internet, and other typical teen worries. Dragon has, well, dragons. In Kay's world, dragons and humans have a peace treaty that keeps each on their own side of the border. Kay goes on a solo hike and is rescued from an accident by Artegal, a dragon, who wants to practice his human speech. The two become friends and, when the tentative peace is broken, must rely on each other to rebuild the peace before too many lives are lost. The author blends reality, legend, history, and technology into an interesting, fast-paced novel with appealing, well-rounded characters. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
Children's Literature - Cara Chancellor
The year was 1945. World War II had just ended in two cataclysmic atomic blasts. Then came the dragons. Lured from underground by the explosions, the beasts attacked with all the fury of legend. But mankind fought back. When machine guns and stealth bombers proved a stalemate for wings and flame, the two sides agreed to divide the North into "Dragon" and "Human." For sixty years, an uneasy peace has prevailed. Seventeen-year-old Kay Wyatt knows this history like the back of her hand. After all, her mother works for the Federal Bureau of Border Enforcement, and her family lives in Silver River, the closest human settlement to Dragon. None of it, however, has stopped Kay from free-climbing on the exhilarating cliffs close to the border. A dragon has never been spotted even close to the river, until the day Kay falls in and is rescued by a large, scaly tail. Artegalis as curious about humans as Kay is about dragons. Their secret friendship erases their prejudices regarding the other species, but can it stop humans and dragons from once again going to war? Vaughn's heroine is straightforward and likeable, more in tune with the outdoors than her all-boys-all-the-time best friend, Tam. Readers should be aware that, while teen appropriate, the plot contains some wartime violence and frank discussions of sexual peer pressure. This book resonates best as a case study of interracial (in this case interspecies) conflict and how unfounded impressions can lead to dire consequences. Reviewer: Cara Chancellor
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—In an alternate 21st century, teens have cell phones and cars, and worry about who will take them to homecoming and whether or not to have sex. They also have dragon drills—just in case the creatures cross the border and attack. After World War II, the dragons, who had been in hiding for centuries, reemerged from myth into real life. Humans, still on edge from the trauma of the war, struck out at them, causing a conflict in which many on both sides died. A truce was reached, a border was created, and a tentative peace was established. Seventeen-year-old Kay lives on the border of Dragon. After a fall during an ill-advised solo climb, she is rescued by Artegal, a dragon who is studying human language. Over the next weeks, a tentative friendship grows into a bond between them. When the border is breached and a conflict begins, they must rely on their friendship to repair the damage before too many lives are lost. The intense climactic action will appeal to reluctant readers, but to get there they will have to get through some slower-paced chapters. Vaughn has grounded this fantastical tale with typical teenage concerns such as relationships, parents, and school; and Kay is a strong, likable heroine. The result is a novel that will appeal to those who like relationship-driven stories as well as those who enjoy fantasies such as Christopher Paolini's Eragon (Knopf, 2003).—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
What is it about dragons in the western United States (Robin McKinley's Dragonhaven, 2007, and, to a lesser extent, Patricia Wrede's Thirteenth Child, 2009), and when will someone figure out how to make these stories really soar? First in a series, Vaughn's YA debut delivers an interesting premise but doesn't follow through. Kay Wyatt lives in a town that borders Dragon, where the dragons have stayed since their re-emergence, the ensuing war with humanity and the current Cold War-style standoff. Humans and dragons never cross the border. But Kay does, accidentally, and ends up friends with a teen dragon. Meanwhile, she's trying to decide whether she should sleep with her so-nice-he's-boring boyfriend and discussing her virginity ad infinitum with best friend Tam. Once the action gets going-the military is moving in on Dragon, the dragons are gearing up for war, people are getting killed and only Kay and Artegal (the dragon) have any hope of averting disaster-this is a fast-paced read; sadly, it takes way too long to get there and any real payoff is saved for later volumes. (Fantasy. 12 & up)
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
Sixty years ago, after a brief but devastating war, dragons and people signed a treaty allowing everyone to live separately, in peace. Growing up in Silver River, Montana, a Dragon borderland, seventeen-year-old Kay knows she should not, but she cannot resist climbing a challenging rockface near the boundary line. Kay makes the climb safely but falls into the river after her descent. Swept into Dragon, she would have drowned if a young dragon had not saved her. The rescue alone was dangerous, for both Kay and the dragon, Artegal, but beginning a friendship could start a war. Is their attempt to understand one another, to become friends, more important than keeping the fragile peace? Humans and dragons living geographically close, but forbidden from having contact, creates a dynamic setting for what could have been a thought-provoking, suspenseful book. Unfortunately, the tension never builds. Kay's relationships remain fairly one-dimensional, even her friendship with Artegal, and only seem important when needed to force situations into the story line. Kay's best friend pops-up mostly to repeatedly urge Kay to get a boyfriend and have sex. Kay's reluctance to have a boyfriend and a physical relationship before she is ready is refreshing, until it is revealed as a plot device toward the end of the story. The complex treaty between species and the small, tantalizing glimpses into dragon society will leave readers curious and perhaps wishing for what could have been. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Carrie Vaughn survived her air force brat childhood and managed to put down roots in Colorado. Her first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour, launched a popular series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk-radio advice show. She is also the author of Voices of Dragons, her debut novel for teen readers. Ms. Vaughn lives in Colorado.

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