The House of Night series is what got me into YA and made me want to write my own book. Don't get me wrong -- I've wanted to write for ages -- but the series made me realize something: humans can know about magic if I want them to. Why am I telling you this? Because you deserve to know that this series has a special place in my heart; that could mean I'm a little biased.
This review is short, but so is this book. I hope that does not mislead anyone regarding the quality of what is here, though, because I really enjoyed Dragon's Oath.
Summary (from GoodReads)
The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon’s Oath tells the story behind the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor – the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him
In early 19th century England, long before he’s a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything… until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon – and a brand new fate.
Becoming a Fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.... In 1830’s St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling…
But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her—or destroy them all?
I think that this was an interesting glimpse into Dragon's past that will help fans of the series understand what he is going through in the present. The story is short and sweet. I would have loved to see more of Dragon and Anastacia's life together. But what is here is well done. We get to see how they meet and how they fell in love. We also get to see why Dragon hates Raven Mockers so much; that it goes even deeper then the fact that they were responsible for Anastacia's death in the present.
It was tough, though. Sitting there and watching them fall in love, and knowing that they are separated now in the present because she has died. (This is made clear in Chapter 1 of the book, just to clarify.) It leaves me wondering whether Dragon will have the strength to do the right thing(s) or whether he will fall to darkness. It also makes me wonder what will happen if Anastacia reincarnates and sees him in his current state.
I loved getting a closer look at Anastacia and Dragon. It helps add more depth to what has been going on throughout the series and it raises questions of what will happen regarding Dragon, Rephaim, etc. in future books. I loved how well that Dragon and Anastacia complemented each other and how real their feelings for each other felt -- especially because of what happens in the field of sunflowers when they first meet. That was really interesting.
The emotion shown between these two felt real and genuine to me. I wish we had gotten to see more and watch their relationship develop in a more naturally paced way. But this is a novella and doing that would have taken a lot more writing, which clearly wasn't the intent here. I must say, things like Perfect Chemisttry are ruining quickly forged love for me. The meadow thing (spoiler: Anastacia speaks to a future version of Dragon and finds out she is suppose to be with him) made this make a little more sense, but I'd still rather have watched things grow over time.
A light, quick read. I was never bored and my only regret was that this couldn't have been longer and given more time and detail. I read the whole thing in one sitting from start to finish.
A must-read for fans. A must-have for House of Night nuts like me. A bit pricy for its length, but definitely worth reading if you like the series.