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House of Dragons

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Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for ye Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call.... THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death. THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again. THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game. THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free--he must take what he wants. THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.


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Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for ye Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call.... THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death. THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again. THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game. THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free--he must take what he wants. THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

30 review for House of Dragons

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bibi

    Pros: Dragons Thrones Dragons Cons: Plot narrative was too linear I counted, at minimum, 3 instances where Cluess used the dreaded "deus ex machina" The stakes weren't high enough The conflict (and it's introduction) was poorly executed. Overall: 2.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    ARC received via publisher!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ Campbell

    There's no way this was inspired by Game of Thrones. Absolutely no way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    5/12/2020 Waiting for my copy to come in the mail! --- Think THREE DARK CROWNS meets THE BREAKFAST CLUB with DRAGONS. Wait...what? I'm both excited and confused lol On another note, I love the detailed cover!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tori Kiersten Frost

    The only YA fantasy that people will describe as "like Game of Thrones for teens" that actually reads like Game of Thrones for teens. You've got your succession crisis, your band of secretive misfits, your murder, and of course, DRAGONS. Just tons of excellent dragons. If you've been waiting for a top-tier dragon rider revival in YA fantasy, this is it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Think THREE DARK CROWNS meets THE BREAKFAST CLUB with DRAGONS. This book sounds like a triple threat and I am so here for it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    melissafandomworld

    Oh, I’m so happy for the existence of this book! The first thing that I could come up with to describe this book a bit more: Eragon meets Game of Thrones for teens in this great first book of this new ya fantasy story that has Dragons & Dragon riders in it and focuses on 5 different people, originated from all over the world whom are pitted against each other in a competition to win the Crown. Unexpected friendships form, more enemies are made and some of the views on this world will change Oh, I’m so happy for the existence of this book! The first thing that I could come up with to describe this book a bit more: Eragon meets Game of Thrones for teens in this great first book of this new ya fantasy story that has Dragons & Dragon riders in it and focuses on 5 different people, originated from all over the world whom are pitted against each other in a competition to win the Crown. Unexpected friendships form, more enemies are made and some of the views on this world will change forever more. Truly; What a thrilling ride reading this book has been. If you like plot driven books with your fair share of focus on political elements, murder, intrigue, fantastic action scenes, great focus on characters and their development and a lesser focus on romance development, than this is a book that’s going to be to your liking very very much. And don’t forget of course: There are DRAGONS! Magnificent dragons, but also more interesting fantasy elements are waiting for you to get aquatinted with. Each chapter left me craving more and the book gets better and better. It was getting really hard to put this book aside when I got towards the end (I was buddy-reading this one with a friend of mine so we stuck with reading and ‘X’ amount of chapters each day)This was exactly what I was hoping to get in a first book. A solid world building is present, fantasy elements that are truly interesting and I want more and more of, there’s a really interesting set of diverse characters and fantastic character development, a solid story and storyline development and overall it’s such an explosive read. One that left me craving more when I was finished. I fell in love with Jessica’s writing when I read book 1 and 2 of her Kingdom on Fire books some years ago and I’m glad to see the writing was as addictive in this book yet again. She has me hooked on every word, sentence and chapter she writes. Why did I then rate the book 4 stars instead of 5? Well… To me, in general, the story-line development wasn’t really surprising and basically everything I expected came true (there are some exceptions tho. Here and there the author did surprise me with tiny little twists). I would’ve loved it more if it more storyline elements would’ve been unexpected. But as I said; the characters and their development for one, were extremely well written and the overall reading experience has just been fantastic to me. It was thrilling and exciting from beginning till end and I really can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment!

  8. 5 out of 5

    elena

    i don't really like ya fantasy anymore but i really want to read this mostly because one of my best friend's mother was a tutor for jessica cluess while she was in college another reason is dragons

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI ♠

    if a book says it has dragons in it, I will read it okay also I want to own all the swords on this cover and hang them prominently on my wall so I can stare at them and touch them and feel epic whenever I want

  10. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    It's about time dragons made a come-back, especially in a non-epic-fantasy book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    FINALLY! A book with the word dragon in the title that has DRAGONS. Huge thank you to Penguin/Random House for supplying me with this arc after a little bit of begging ;D What a wild ride I was just on, you guys. This book starts with a BANG. We jump into the five povs. Yes, I said it. FIVE POV's. But as daunting as that sounds, it wasn't too bad once you get to know the characters. But I digress. This wild ride starts when the emperor dies and the eldest of each of the five houses in Etrusia line FINALLY! A book with the word dragon in the title that has DRAGONS. Huge thank you to Penguin/Random House for supplying me with this arc after a little bit of begging ;D What a wild ride I was just on, you guys. This book starts with a BANG. We jump into the five povs. Yes, I said it. FIVE POV's. But as daunting as that sounds, it wasn't too bad once you get to know the characters. But I digress. This wild ride starts when the emperor dies and the eldest of each of the five houses in Etrusia line up for the Call to compete for the throne. But things don't go as planned and the least assuming (bastards, youngest, etc) are chosen. The winner gets the crown. Losers get the Cut. I.E executed. These outcasts, each with their own issues, battle for the throne all while uncovering some secrets and flying DRAGONS!! I cannot stress this enough and I will scream it from the rooftops. I LOVE DRAGONS. This book didn't disappoint in that aspect. Nor the intrigue and violence that I love in competition books like this. I connected to each of the protagonists to the point where I thought I was watching a reality show and kept switching to who I wanted to win. This is a Romanesque fantasy world and there's some violence that had me staring open-mouthed at my Kindle. There are also some pretty strong themes throughout that are kind of brutal for younger audiences. To close off this review I will say that this book sets itself apart and I loved every bit of it. I am so glad my begging paid off. This book is one for the shelves.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // stan shea couleé

    Follow my YA Book Blog for big dragon energy This was such a good book. It wasn't perfect, it was definitely messy and the Narnia / Game Of Thrones mash up at the end was utterly bizarre but it worked. The story is completely character driven, with five (five!) POVs and dragons. I think I fell in love with the story the moment when everyone was waiting for the first born to be called up for potential Emperor-ing and the Great Dragon was like, 'actually, I'll have all the weirdos instead. Sounds g Follow my YA Book Blog for big dragon energy This was such a good book. It wasn't perfect, it was definitely messy and the Narnia / Game Of Thrones mash up at the end was utterly bizarre but it worked. The story is completely character driven, with five (five!) POVs and dragons. I think I fell in love with the story the moment when everyone was waiting for the first born to be called up for potential Emperor-ing and the Great Dragon was like, 'actually, I'll have all the weirdos instead. Sounds good.' There's a lot I could compare this to. Any Game Of Thrones fan will know immediately which final scene I'm referencing. Then the Narnia moment. I'd be tempted on comparing the 5 with The Breakfast Club, but they're more like Umbrella Academy - going though deep personal trauma and mad about it. Plus I could really compare Emilia's chaos magic that she struggles to control with a major UA character. But the story felt completely unique to me. The story gave us so much to look forward to in the next book and I'm already predicting that it won't get Second Book Syndrome. There will be too much going on with a Kingdom to run, Dragons, magic and whatever the hell just happened in the final few pages. I would really love to see some character growth, particularly from Ajax, who is very childish and annoying in this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    House of Dragons was spectacular. It was awesome, awesome, awesome. Book 2 is going to be a blast.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lenni (whenimetabook)

    This baby is flaying its way to me! I'm very excited for this collaboration! 💖 The book sounds pretty good, I hope I'll like it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jules ✨

    the breakfast club meets three dark crowns meets game of thrones. i believe in jessica cluess supremacy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elza B

    *sees a book about people bonding with dragons* *hits the want-to-read button* If anyone wonders what I spend my free time doing just show them this review

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessi (Novel Heartbeat)

    3.5/5 This book was one of my most anticipated 2020 releases! I was DYING to get my hands on it, and was ready to start begging (okay, I kind of begged in buy/sell/trade groups, trying to get someone to trade with me lol), and I finally got lucky enough that the publisher responded to my ARC request with a Netgalley widget! Yay! Did it live up to the hype? Yes and no. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in it overall. I think maybe my expectations were just too high. However, did it deliver 3.5/5 This book was one of my most anticipated 2020 releases! I was DYING to get my hands on it, and was ready to start begging (okay, I kind of begged in buy/sell/trade groups, trying to get someone to trade with me lol), and I finally got lucky enough that the publisher responded to my ARC request with a Netgalley widget! Yay! Did it live up to the hype? Yes and no. Honestly, I was a little disappointed in it overall. I think maybe my expectations were just too high. However, did it deliver the dragon action? YES IT DID! Finally, a book "about dragons" WITH ACTUAL DRAGON ACTION! And not just in passing! That was by far the selling point of this book, and my absolute favorite part. I adored the dragons themselves (especially Dog, be still my heart!) and the different types of dragons bonding to different Houses. Absolutely fabulous! (view spoiler)[I especially loved how the chains of bondage were broken and the dragons were actually able to speak to their riders! YASSS! (hide spoiler)] In the beginning, I wasn't enjoying it very much. I wasn't a huge fan of Jessica's writing style, sadly. I was a little bored at times, and I didn't care about any of the characters. The only ones with actual personality were Hyperia, the murderous bitch, and Ajax, who reminded me a little of a very childish and petulant version of Sevro from Red Rising. Emilia, Vespir, and Lucien were all pretty bland in the first half, and I didn't care about any of them. I also didn't care who won or lost, or really what happened to them. I am happy to say that my feelings did grow as the book went on! This book really shines in the last 25%. The action ramps up, the stakes get higher, and we get a little shock of deceit (that I thought was awesome!). Somewhere along the line, the characters grew on me. I started realizing that Emilia was kind of a badass, Vespir wasn't the mouse I thought she was, and Lucien had more to him than just righteous valor (which was frankly a bit annoying in the beginning, sorry). Hyperia even started to grow on me. I think I probably liked Ajax all along, even though he's a pain in the ass. He had the most personality! He does get a little annoying at times, because he's just so...obnoxious? Incorrigible? He's kind of a prick sometimes, but he had a good heart. I adored his relationship with his dragon, Dog! Dog is a lot like Ajax - over the top, obnoxious - but totally lovable and goofy. (Like a dog!) (view spoiler)[It BROKE MY HEART when they gouged his eyes out in punishment for Ajax's idiocy!!! Oh my lord! Poor baby! (hide spoiler)] I don't know how I felt about the ending. It felt a little rushed, and there were some things that didn't sit quite right with me. (view spoiler)[Namely, another competition for "one winner" got changed conveniently so that everyone wins and no one dies. I would have rather seen Lucien win the throne and maybe appoint the other three as a council or something, but still do away with the Cut (because that was ridiculous to begin with - win or die, Game of Thrones much? If dragons are so revered, and it's considered sacrilegious to harm them, why would they willingly kill them off?). It didn't make sense to put them ALL on the throne - especially Vespir, who was not noble born, but a servant; and Ajax, who was frankly childish and unfit to rule (sorry Ajax, I like you, but damn you can be immature, and you don't need to hand that kind of power to a petulant child). I just thought that the ending was a bit too convenient. I also don't know how I feel about the turn that Hyperia's character took. Part of me isn't surprised - I mean, the chick did kill her own sister without batting an eyelash - but another part of me was kind of hoping for some catharsis in her character. Some realization of wrongdoing, since she obviously regretted killing her sister and felt bad about it. I felt like she was making such headway and character growth, then she just went all Dany on everyone and burned the city?? Wtf? Sigh. I mean, I guess it made sense for her ruthless character, but still. Despite her murderous tendencies, I did find her an interesting character. Womp womp. One more complaint: I hate how fantasies eliminate stakes with magical healing of mortal wounds. That drives me BONKERS. Lucien takes a sword thrust to the gut, and would have died, but the emperor and empress stepped in and wham bam he's good as new. NO stakes whatsoever. They had even said at the beginning that sometimes competitors died, and there was 30-40% I think? of death. YET NO ONE DIED. I think that would have really helped raise the stakes and my emotional connection to this book. Sure, Hyperia's dragon died in the end, but honestly who is going to care? Hyperia and her dragon both went pure evil at the end, which made you want them to die. Which I don't really like, because it felt like a plot device to me. Although, I am curious about how Hyperia's final act - awakening the Chaos House - will run its course in the sequel. (Even though Hyperia HATED chaos and was against it vehemently and it makes absolutely zero sense that she would resurrect it, but okay...) (hide spoiler)] Also, side note: I couldn't help but notice that this book represents all four Hogwarts Houses in its characters, so I've taken the liberty of sorting them (you're welcome lol): -Emilia: Ravenclaw -Hyperia: Slytherin -Vespir: Hufflepuff -Lucien: Gryffindor/Hufflepuff even split -Ajax: Gryffindor with a healthy dose of Slytherin Overall, for me this book was good but not great. I was underwhelmed compared to how much I'd hyped it up in my head, but I am pleased at the important and integral role that the dragons played in the book! So many books promise dragons and I end up overwhelmed because the dragon action is minimal. I'm thankful that this wasn't one of them! I do think that lots of people are going to love this book, and I will definitely be picking up the sequel to see what happens next! This review was originally posted on Novel Heartbeat. To see a breakdown of my assessment, please visit the full review here.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Dragons are awesome and majestic, and this book is so full of them that it can only be fun. My only expectation going into this new world was that it should entertain me and I should enjoy my reading experience, and it totally delivered on what I wanted. This was a very plot driven narrative, and it felt different after a long time because I tend to gravitate so much towards character driven stories. The author just throws us right in the middle of chaos and we get to follow along wherever it go Dragons are awesome and majestic, and this book is so full of them that it can only be fun. My only expectation going into this new world was that it should entertain me and I should enjoy my reading experience, and it totally delivered on what I wanted. This was a very plot driven narrative, and it felt different after a long time because I tend to gravitate so much towards character driven stories. The author just throws us right in the middle of chaos and we get to follow along wherever it goes. There are five POVs but after the initial introductions, I didn’t find it hard to tell them apart and I think that was cool. I will not say that this book is reinventing the wheel, because the concept of a Trial (or multiple) to win a throne in pretty common in YA fantasy. So while it was tad bit predictable, it was also fun to follow the contests, guess who might be the winners, predict their motives and just be thoroughly entertained. The world building is certainly limited because we are very much concentrated on the trials, but we do get to know a bit of history in between and I found that sufficient for now. But the best part of this book were the dragons. Many books promise these majestic beasts these days in their titles but they are usually missing from action within the story itself, but I’m so happy that’s not the case here. All the dragons are very much a part of the narrative, have very distinct personalities and their own kind of relationships with their counterpart humans. I loved seeing how they seemed to complement each other so well, and all their bonding moments were absolutely spectacular. There’s a little one called Dog who is the most adorable ever and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting him anytime soon. And coming to the main characters, I liked that we had a spectrum of them ranging from ruthless to power hungry to desperate to resourceful to tortured... all very distinct, who weren’t even sure if they wanted to rule the kingdom but slowly came to realize what was important to them. I also liked how they each came from very different backgrounds and life experiences, which defines the kind of person they are and also gives us a glimpse of what kind of a ruler they might be. They are all competitors but it was also nice to see them reluctantly bond or work together sometimes. I don’t know if I can yet pick whom I like decisively because I really loved certain qualities in every single one of them, except one person whom I wouldn’t wanna spoil. Romance is also not much of an important part of this story and there’s only one relationship, which we only get glimpses of. But I was glad to see it was two women in love and there was no homophobia involved. The adults in the book are nothing much to be spoken about because like many of the YA novels we know, they were on a scale of useless to abhorrent, with maybe one being redeemable. The antagonists might seem predictable to some readers, but I certainly didn’t see the betrayals coming. In the end, I just wanna say I enjoyed this book a lot. While I found it good all throughout and didn’t wanna put it down, I thought the last 10-15% was amazing and I truly did not expect that ending. That was spectacular and I’m already so excited for the conclusion, which I suppose won’t be coming out for another year. All I want to say is that if you love dragons a lot and want to enjoy reading some nice YA fantasy, then this might be just the right choice. If you are looking for something very unique or new that has never been done before, then this is not it. I have seen the comparisons to Game of Thrones in other reviews and they maybe right... but I was never a fan of those books and I certainly like this version because it’s more to my taste.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Taschima

    This was SO good!!! 🖤 At first I read the summary and was like, okay I can dig it. Then I saw the cover and drooled all over my keyboard. THEN I READ THE BOOK... And I know what you are thinking, then why did you give it 4 stars instead of 5? Well, that was because of some story choices at the very end that I struggled to reconcile with the rest of the book, and the ending felt a bit... weird to me, but that doesn't mean you are allowed to skip this one. It is so worth the read if only for the chara This was SO good!!! 🖤 At first I read the summary and was like, okay I can dig it. Then I saw the cover and drooled all over my keyboard. THEN I READ THE BOOK... And I know what you are thinking, then why did you give it 4 stars instead of 5? Well, that was because of some story choices at the very end that I struggled to reconcile with the rest of the book, and the ending felt a bit... weird to me, but that doesn't mean you are allowed to skip this one. It is so worth the read if only for the characters themselves! I am usually not a huge fan of MULTIPLE POVs--it can get kind of, dare I say, chaotic when there are so many different voices competing for the spotlight. And, well, some authors just can't pull of multiple POVs. Jessica Cluess is not one of those authors. Every single one of her characters has a unique voice and background. I never had to double check who I was reading because it became obvious in the first few sentences. I loved some of these characters (Emilia, Vespir, occassionally Lucian), I was seriously conflicted about one in particular (Hyperia), and the last one I just, why Ajax why. They are all so complex and layers upon layers of vulnerability. Their past definitely comes back to haunt them, as none of them can claim to be completely innocent (well, except maybe Vespir, my girl). The magical system is interesting. There is chaotic magic (Witcher vibes!), and orderly (? am I saying that right) magic. Order has prevailed for a long time, it defeated chaos a long time ago and Emilia is an abomination on legs. Throughout the story we get some background pertaining the war between the magics, through I felt like the magic took a backseat to the main event-->Dragons. The dragons were magnificent! I do wish we could have gotten a drawing of each dragon, that would have been the cherry on top. By the end of the book some new doors are opened in the relationship between rider and dragons, something I can't wait to see fully explored in the sequel. There is not a lot of romance in the story to be honest. Vespir is in love with Antonia, and we get some of their relationship, but they spend a lot of the time apart obviously. There is another romance that started to spark, but nothing major. Possibly more to come in the second book? I hope so! Will definitely be pre-ordering that one! (view spoiler)[I kind of felt cheated we don't get to know who was ACTUALLY chosen. My money is on Vespir; I really hope we get an actual answer on the second book. Also Ajax has no business being emperor. Emilia, Vespir, and Lucian? Yeah, they each have their role to play and together make up a pretty effective team. Then there is Ajax, which could grow up to be a great assassin IF HE DIDN'T LIKE THE SPOTLIGHT SO MUCH. Other than, he is practically useless in matters of the state. (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    3.5! I really liked this. It was a solid beginning to a new fantasy series. I think it’s a mix of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Hunger Games (except not as good as those lmao). I thought the premise was quite interesting, the characters I loved, though I’d have loved more background info. The best part was the dragons though, especially in the end. If you have read it, you know what I mean. My favorite by far was Dog 😍 truly, an angel. Anyway, I struggled with the pacing a little b 3.5! I really liked this. It was a solid beginning to a new fantasy series. I think it’s a mix of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and The Hunger Games (except not as good as those lmao). I thought the premise was quite interesting, the characters I loved, though I’d have loved more background info. The best part was the dragons though, especially in the end. If you have read it, you know what I mean. My favorite by far was Dog 😍 truly, an angel. Anyway, I struggled with the pacing a little bit, i thought the middle dragged, and i wanted more character development. It’s definitely a plot-driven book. Other than the dragon factor, i dont think this book added anything particularly new to YA fantasy, but i still enjoyed it and im looking forward to read the next one. *slight spoilers* there’s some dragon physical abuse in this book, and it’s quite explicit. I didnt have an issue with it because the dragon was fine in the end, everything turned out okay. Im only mentioning it because some people dnf’ed this book after that scene and even though i understand why, i wish they had kept reading bc it gets resolved pretty well imo. That’s all im gonna say! Happy reading!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Michael Araujo

    The original review can be found on TheFandom where a review copy was provided in return of an honest review. In HOUSE OF DRAGONS, Jessica Cluess delivers a non-stop thrill ride that dives deep into politics and breathes life into action-packed scenes. Normally, when the Emperor of Etrusia passes away, the Great Dragon calls the eldest child from each of the five Houses to compete in the Trials with their respective dragon. The winner becomes the new Emperor or Empress and they rule successfully u The original review can be found on TheFandom where a review copy was provided in return of an honest review. In HOUSE OF DRAGONS, Jessica Cluess delivers a non-stop thrill ride that dives deep into politics and breathes life into action-packed scenes. Normally, when the Emperor of Etrusia passes away, the Great Dragon calls the eldest child from each of the five Houses to compete in the Trials with their respective dragon. The winner becomes the new Emperor or Empress and they rule successfully until their passing, where the cycle restarts. It’s the same every single time, until now. Suddenly the younger siblings are being chosen, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. When I first saw that House of Dragons was told from five different points of views, I became a little concerned. From past experience, multiple points of views start bleeding into each other and the character’s personalities start blending. I’m no longer able to tell them apart and end up getting frustrated. Cluess makes sure that every single one of her characters are completely different so that doesn’t happen. From the start, I was able to differentiate these distinctive characters. They all varied with their emotions and actions and stand apart from each other. You could literally open the book at any page and within seconds know who’s point of view it is. Their voices mirrored their arc that takes you on this wild journey and you see their progression the further in you go. I found myself questioning every single person and wondering which of them would win the Trials and take the throne by the end. Even the side characters play a large part with their depth and complexities. I found myself wanting to know more about everyone and hoping that we would get more stories out of them. I honestly liked every single character in this unique cast and wanted more. One of my favorite parts had to be the story itself. Because of the Trials, we see the characters doing their own things and going about their business. But the story makes sure that they cross each other and fits them into this larger puzzle. It was almost like a game of chess, where if you take out one characters action, nothing else can happen. The entire time I was reading, I was literally having fun. Through the happy moments, the action scenes, and even the sad times, I was having as much fun as if I were watching a blockbuster movie. I thought the world building was intriguing. While the novel focused more on the characters and their dragons, I thought that what we saw of the world was beautifully done. It made me want more, and want to dive deeper into its lore and cultures. I’m not sure if it’s because I really like the novel a lot, but I want to know about the past, present, and future. I want to see in-detailed passages about all the lands. I just want to ask for too much honestly. While reading, I did get little hints, almost easter eggs, to Game of Thrones. At least I hope they were easter eggs, what with one of the main characters being called Emilia, and especially with the way things ended. It gave me the same vibe except I wasn’t disappointed this time. I was Excited with a capital E. I found myself almost wanting the “villain” to continue with what they were doing. At the end of it all, Jessica Cluess is smart and witty and has easily given me one of my favorite books of the year. She introduces us to this almost modern fantasy world, with current “moods” and “sayings” that sets it apart from others. It wasn’t trying to be this classical fantasy novel, but gave us what we know today. It’s a little difficult to explain but that only means you’ll have to buy the book and read it to understand. And hopefully, she decides to write more worlds set in Etrusia aside from the sequel.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Breanna

    THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks Thank you to Random House Children's for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley! 3.5 stars ✨ What is this book about? After the Emperor dies, five young men and women are selected from each of the royal houses to compete to be the next Emperor or Empress. However, the five that are chosen are unexpected choices and unprepared for the battle for the throne. What did I like? Any book that boasts five separate POVs is going to be either hit or miss. In House THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and Paperbacks Thank you to Random House Children's for providing me with an ARC through NetGalley! 3.5 stars ✨ What is this book about? After the Emperor dies, five young men and women are selected from each of the royal houses to compete to be the next Emperor or Empress. However, the five that are chosen are unexpected choices and unprepared for the battle for the throne. What did I like? Any book that boasts five separate POVs is going to be either hit or miss. In House of Dragons it works; each character has its own distinct voice and it was easy to tell them apart without feeling lost or confused. And speaking of the characters, I really loved the diverse cast of characters created and their various backgrounds and personal struggles. Emilia – second child of the Aurun family. She’s quiet, reserved, booksmart, and is holding a deadly secret: she’s able to wield the outlawed chaotic powers. She was probably my favorite character! Lucian – younger twin of the Sabel family. He’s been trained his whole life to be a soldier and has led successful campaigns, however, he’s wrought with guilt over the war atrocities he’s seen and committed, and vows to never pick up a sword again. He’s got the brooding soldier thing going for him so obviously I loved him as well. Vespir – servant of the Pentri family. She’s a very skilled dragon trainer and is in love with the Pentri family’s daughter, Antonia. I enjoyed her character arc as she become more assertive and sure of herself. Hyperia – firstborn daughter of the Volscia family. She’s been training her entire life to one day compete for the throne. She’s confident, aggressive, and bloodthirsty. She will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Ajax – one of many, many bastard sons of the Tiber family. He’s the youngest of the bunch and his immaturity shows. Of all of the characters, he was my least favorite. But his dragon was my favorite of all the dragons! Another thing I really liked about House of Dragons was that it didn’t shy away from the violence. There’s gripping action, bloody scenes, and moments of pure brutality. It was much more vicious than I had been expecting for a YA fantasy book. I also enjoyed the dynamics that formed between the different characters, and how they eventually created a sort of found family. What didn’t I like? Sometimes the book had trouble holding my attention and I found myself skimming sections. The pacing wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked it to be so I think that’s where the issue came in. There were also a few parts that came across as very juvenile–which is totally fine for YA!–but compared to the maturity of the content of the rest of the book it just felt out of place. Overall thoughts: House of Dragons was a gripping, entertaining fantasy story perfect for fans of A Game of Thrones who are looking for a YA book with similar aspects. I think a lot of people are going to end up sleeping on this, but I’m here to encourage you to give it a try, especially if you enjoy dragons, messy families, and a quest to win the throne!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jen Ryland

    Fun dragon-forward fantasy with a competition plot line. RTC Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram! Fun dragon-forward fantasy with a competition plot line. RTC Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Let's be friends on Bookstagram!

  24. 4 out of 5

    julia ☆ [owls reads]

    2 stars. * House of Dragons delivered on the dragons by having so! many of them in the book and actually making them important parts of the plot. They weren't just there for the dragon aesthetic and even had their own personalities. There was also quite a bit of action that involved them, as well as some really cool reveals at the end, so if you were looking for new YA Fantasy books with a heavy focus on dragons then you should check this out! Everything else was a fail for me. I think my biggest th 2 stars. * House of Dragons delivered on the dragons by having so! many of them in the book and actually making them important parts of the plot. They weren't just there for the dragon aesthetic and even had their own personalities. There was also quite a bit of action that involved them, as well as some really cool reveals at the end, so if you were looking for new YA Fantasy books with a heavy focus on dragons then you should check this out! Everything else was a fail for me. I think my biggest thing was that the writing was too... modern? The way the characters spoke and how the narrative developed didn't match a Fantasy world to me. It all sounded very simple and a bit vague at times. The style just really didn't work for me, personally. All of the 5 POV characters also had a tendency to sound the same because of this. There were also obviously a lot of things lifted from or that were inspired by Game of Thrones, but Cluess did manage to give them a unique spin in her story and made them her own. I have a spoiler-y list on that at the end, if you want to take a look. Even so, the world-building in general was a bit of a mess? It seemed like the book was trying to be too many things at once and didn't have enough time to develop some of its magical and dragon-y aspects. There was just a lot going on in the background that was left a bit up in the air or explained super quickly because the focus had to be on the Game. I also didn't care much for any of the characters? They all had very distinct personalities and different obstacles to overcome, but their inner monologues and dialogue sounded too similar to each other. And it was obvious from the start that the stakes weren't as high as Cluess was trying to make them out to be, so a few very tense scenes with the characters didn't impact or shock me as they should have. Personally, House of Dragons was disappointing. I loved all the dragon bits and fights and twists, but that was not enough to make me okay with everything else. I'm sure a lot of people will love this, as the narrative is easy to follow and there are tons of dragons, but it didn't work for me. (view spoiler)[Blood of the dragon. Lots of important dragon people with golden hair and skin fair as milk. Dragonspire vs Dragonstone. The War of the Sixth House vs The War of the Five Kings. Dragon melting a symbol of a house (sword vs throne) with fire. "Faceless people". Lord Tiber having 987594759345 bastards like Bobby B but with added rape. Vows to the brotherhood, giving up family titles and connections with Sacred Brothers vs Nightswatch. Hyperia is a watered down Cersei without the incest bits but with the thirst for power and the violence. Reluctant/tortured leader who is chosen by the people and also a nice dude Lucian vs Jon Snow. Literally a game for the throne. Except no one dies. (hide spoiler)] * Series: #1 House of Dragons series. POV: Told from Emilia, Lucian, Ajax, Vespir, and Hyperia's POVs. Content Warnings: (view spoiler)[None. (hide spoiler)] Instalove: (view spoiler)[Eh. (hide spoiler)] Love Triangle: (view spoiler)[No. (hide spoiler)] Cheating: (view spoiler)[No. (hide spoiler)] Cliffhanger: I'd say no. HEA: (view spoiler)[Not yet! (hide spoiler)] Up Next: Untitled.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alena

    This was wildly entertaining. A good, diverse cast of characters coming together to form a found family of sorts, a fast-paced plot that kept me guessing, and DRAGONS. Loooooved the dragons, especially with the twist at the end.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Austine (NovelKnight)

    Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I would like to think it's impossible to dislike a book with dragons and I've yet to be disappointed by one, so I'm happy to add House of Dragons not only to my "Read" list but "Recommended" as well! I adored Cluess' Kingdom on Fire series and was so excited to hear that she had a new fantasy with DRAGONS rel Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I would like to think it's impossible to dislike a book with dragons and I've yet to be disappointed by one, so I'm happy to add House of Dragons not only to my "Read" list but "Recommended" as well! I adored Cluess' Kingdom on Fire series and was so excited to hear that she had a new fantasy with DRAGONS releasing. This YA fantasy features five characters, each with their own point-of-view chapters spread throughout the book. I have a love/hate relationship with multiple perspectives. There's always (at least) one character I like and want more of, and at least one I'm annoyed or bored with. The rest tend to fall somewhere in between. In this case, I found Emilia's character and her internal struggle the most interesting, the one I wanted to follow the longest. She's been taught that her power is wrong. Evil. And it's not something she can control either. Watching her grow and shift her view of herself and her power was my favorite of the character arcs. I liked Lucian and Vespir's perspectives as well, but always felt a bit distanced from them. Lucian's scenes often centered around his past as a solider or Emilia, and started becoming a bit one-note in that regard by the end, but still enjoyable. Vespir offered a different perspective than the others and I found it refreshing, and her romance with the noble daughter of the family she had served was the sweetest. But I didn't get as strong a sense of her goals and so didn't make that connection. Then there's Ajax and Hyperia. The former is the bastard son and one of many, and he makes a lot of bad decisions. The one thing I loved about his scenes were his obvious love of his dragon (and there's a scene near the end with said dragon that had me cackling). I just wasn't as interested in him as a character. Same with Hyperia. Each time I thought she had a bit more depth it was back to the same old thing. Rather than grow as a character, I felt like she remained steady, if not regressing, by the end until she's forced through a huge change. All that said, I didn't hate any of the character perspectives (which has happened for me before) and actually look forward to another book that hopefully features the same individuals. Some of that is because of the cliffhanger ending which was set up quite nicely throughout, and some of it is the characters themselves. As to the story, this is a competition. Each dragon rider is fighting to be chosen as emperor or empress, called forth by the Great Dragon to compete in a series of challenges. I was all there for the fantastical challenges. And the dragons. The world itself wasn't terribly special as far as fantasy goes but I liked the glimpses of the magic system we got (beyond the dragons themselves) and hope more of that is explored in the next book. I will say this book doesn't pull its punches when it comes to violence and abuse. There are a few fairly graphic scenes in terms of gore and torture, whether described or visually depicted. And at times the story gets a bit darker. This might not appeal to all readers. I think it only added to the story as a whole, but something to be aware of. Despite its size, House of Dragons moves quickly. The shifting of character PoVs combined with a fairly action-heavy plot made it a quick page-turner when I was reading. I like Cluess' writing style, I did in her last series too, but something about this book in particular left me putting it down fairly often. I would read a few chapters, then find something else to do. And thinking back, after I finished, while I had favored some characters over others while reading, I still felt distanced from all of them. It wasn't a book I was up reading into the early hours of the night. A great first book in a series, but missing that extra something that hooked me from start to finish. All that said, I would absolutely recommend House of Dragons to fantasy fans, especially any looking for books with a competition or race, and/or multiple points-of-view. I can see this book appealing to a wide variety of readers, and it's definitely worth checking out! For More Bookish Content: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin'

  27. 4 out of 5

    ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω

    They got me with just the word DRAGONS!!!

  28. 4 out of 5

    AJ

    ”From this day until his last, he swore he would never again take up a sword, never raise his hand to another living creature.” I’m so glad this book lived up to my expectations! It was action packed from start to finish and I enjoyed MOST of it. There wasn’t much world building but that didn’t take away from the story or it’s interesting plot. Dragons! We actually had DRAGONS! I loved how they were tied to their owners soul, and connected to them. There wasn’t much similarities between this b ”From this day until his last, he swore he would never again take up a sword, never raise his hand to another living creature.” I’m so glad this book lived up to my expectations! It was action packed from start to finish and I enjoyed MOST of it. There wasn’t much world building but that didn’t take away from the story or it’s interesting plot. Dragons! We actually had DRAGONS! I loved how they were tied to their owners soul, and connected to them. There wasn’t much similarities between this book and Game of Thrones besides the Dragons, and the fact that Hysteria turned into a Daenerys Targaryen at the end. I also got major The Breakfast Club vibes from this book. A group of misfits put together always makes for an interesting outcome.. The characters were like able but all had their moments that made me want to scream at them! Mainly Ajax although I can understand his actions. If you like fast paced, competitions, and multiple POV stories then this is the book for you! 4/5 🌟’s

  29. 5 out of 5

    nivedha

    this book is...okay. the dragons were cool, and i like how they were a major part of the characters' lives and not just accessories. the rest of the book, however, is mind-numbingly boring. i don't care about any of the characters in this. not one. i don't like the way the conflict was resolved, and i was skimming through the pages through the end. (view spoiler)[also, are we not gonna talk about how hyperia is basically cersei lannister, or...? (hide spoiler)] this was just not for me. this book is...okay. the dragons were cool, and i like how they were a major part of the characters' lives and not just accessories. the rest of the book, however, is mind-numbingly boring. i don't care about any of the characters in this. not one. i don't like the way the conflict was resolved, and i was skimming through the pages through the end. (view spoiler)[also, are we not gonna talk about how hyperia is basically cersei lannister, or...? (hide spoiler)] this was just not for me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    John

    Wonderful cruelty and amazing tragic deaths...or are they? I received this book as May’s Beacon Book Box. I was not disappointed. It reads much like ‘Game Of Thrones’ But with some actual conclusions and new beginnings. This is the first in the series and I’m excited to see where the Houses take us next. I know what House I belong too...will you dare to follow your Dragon?

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