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Book Review by Madeline Fussy

Updated: Nov 7, 2022



Book Reviewed: Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers, Book One: The Academy by Taylor Staples


Sixteen-year-old Kadyia Aranel is a fourth-year student at the premier academy for dragon tamers. A dedicated and high-achieving student, she is a leader in all of her classes. Each class helps prepare her for her future duty as a dragon tamer. As a potential dragon tamer, she is to be a protector of the people and the peaceful world they had built. After years of war and destruction, her academy was founded to shed peace and light on the troubled world. The academy was founded on the morals of Malioria and Jeremiah Mottle, the first dragon and tamer. According to the founders, dragon tamers were to be loyal not to themselves but to the people. They were to serve as protectors and peacemakers. With wide eyes and eager hearts, most disciples of the academy adhered to this rule. But there were a few exceptions, people who sought to use dragons to make themselves powerful and have dominion over the world.

During Kadyia’s fourth year at the academy, she and her group of housemates prepare for a major test. The test gauges fourth-year students on their abilities to survive in the wild for two weeks while fending off attackers. Through years of training and a diverse set of skills, Kadyia and her five housemates are more than prepared for the test. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, something goes horribly wrong. The fourth-year students are left to mourn their dead and care for their injured as they make the long and arduous trek back to the academy. Tensions are high, resources are scarce, and no one really knows what is going on. Yet, despite all the pain and ugliness, Kadyia and her leadership shine through, giving her classmates the glimmer of hope they need to persevere.

When the tattered and broken bunch of fourth-year students arrive at the academy, everything has changed. The previous headmaster had passed away, leaving new leadership to take his place. The new leadership was harsh, subjecting students to torturous situations and forcing them to discard their loyalty to the people. The new headmaster is loyal only to herself. She selfishly seeks to use the dragons to make herself powerful. Kadyia and her friends must flee the academy and devise a plan to thwart the new headmaster. A thrilling fantasy novel from start to finish, Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers will take you soaring as if you are on the back of a dragon.

One of the biggest strengths of this novel is the creative setting. In Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers, author Taylor Staples introduces us to the inner workings of her imagination through the beautiful world-building. Staples’ imaginative writing is sure to win over the hearts of fantasy fans. Staples’ depiction of the relationships between dragons and humans is brilliant, with so much mutual respect and a sense of reverence. The bonds between dragons and humans are powerful and awe-inspiring, and the readers will feel their deep interconnectedness. She creates an intricate history for her world and introduces the historical information gradually throughout the novel with the characters’ different school classes. If you are someone who loves to learn, you will find yourself caught up in all the trivia and facts of the dragon-taming classes.

Another strength of the novel is in the friendships between the main characters. Having six unique main characters can be hard to manage, but Staples handles it brilliantly. By giving each character a special skill or role within the group, Staples creates a really satisfying environment in which the characters work exceptionally well together; it feels like everything fits perfectly into place. Though the characters’ skill sets allow them to work together, Staples still includes enough conflict and tension to keep things interesting. The group of main characters is a main strength of the novel because of their deep bonds and effective teamwork with interesting conflicts and tensions.

A major strength of the novel is its plot. Thrilling and heroic, Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers is a satisfying read that leaves the reader eager for the sequel. With tensions mounting and so much at stake in this beautiful world worth protecting, the novel will hold the reader’s attention with its riveting plot as the selfless and courageous characters fight to uphold the peace of the world they have sworn to keep safe. The plot of Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers is unique, original, and yet somehow familiar and comforting. For those who are fans of the mythical fantasy genre, be sure to give this book a read.

Delve into the wild and bright-eyed imagination of author Taylor Staples through this riveting novel. Staples is a passionate author. It is easy to see how much she cares about her work and each one of her carefully crafted characters. She has poured her soul into this novel. Kadyia and the Dragon Tamers has great world-building with interesting and engaging characters. Definitely give this book a read if you enjoyed Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or other fantasy novels. I rate this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars for its riveting narrative and well-written characters.

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