I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Lilian Oake's new book The Dragon Cager which came out today. 5/5 stars from me and you should go get a copy for yourself.
Since I know she writes YA fantasy I was expecting something light and fluffy. But I was pleasantly surprised at the complex, complicated world she built in old England. Dragon cagers are magical creatures that are half man half dragons. They can assume either shape and are notorious for gaining the trust of humans before eating them alive.
Evie is the only daughter of a small merchant family. Her father died when she was a young girl so her mother and younger brother work together at the family business and Evie found a job in the governor's home as a maid. She also found love, and a hope for a better life. But a night of passion turns into a nightmare when everyone she has ever known turns against her or idly stands by and watches her downfall.
Exiled from the only life she has ever known, with her heart and hopes broken, she is cast into the burning wilderness where dragons disguised as men roam freely. In that wilderness, everything she had been taught turns out to be lies. At least that is what the gorgeous, naked dragon cager, Lachlann, tries to convince her of.
And that is just another layer to Evie's already complex situation. Because Lachlann has fallen in love with her at first sight. Or so he says. But Evie has just been betrayed by her first love, and everyone knows that cagers like to trick humans. Adding to her confusion is a voice inside her head telling her she's being silly not to trust Lachlann. Not her own instincts, or budding insanity, the voice belongs to a tiny dragon imp, Lachlann's familiar, who can sway a person's emotions.
Surrounded by magic for the first time in her life, with her own magic coming out in unpredictable ways, wrapped up in violence and lies and subterfuge and hidden pasts, the only way for Evie to figure it out is to find the one person that has all the answers, and the person that started it all. Her own mother. But the same people that are hunting Evie and Lachlann are also hunting her mom. And the only way to reach her in time is on the back of a dragon. A dragon that wants her and doesn't understand her prim upbringing.
“Are you all right?”
Lachlann asked, concern embellishing his voice.“I will be in a few
moments,” she replied. “There must be a more comfortable way to ride you.”A smile flirted at the
corner of his lips and Evie quickly raised a finger. “Ah, ah, ah! No rude
innuendos, please.” Evie flashed a humorless glare before continuing. She was
in no mood to joke.Lachlann’s shoulders
dropped in disappointment as he took a seat beside her. “You’re no fun.”
Crag isn't as helpful as he could be though.
But his antics provide a needed laugh here and there, and he even turns out to be useful.
All in all this was a delightful book. So good I read it twice in the last month or so. And I will most certainly read it again in the future because it's such a great tale with fun and hilarious dialogue and characters that you root for the entire time.