Dragonfly held so much promise: A hate-turned-love romance, fantasy, questing, culture clash, battles. Oh gosh, the blurb sounded like a recipe for success, but unfortunately the actual story fell flat for me.
I’m a character girl
I need to love my characters, especially in a book like this. The hate-turned-love romantic device relies completely on the strength of the characters. They need to be interesting as individuals and there needs to be a spark between them. For me, neither of those factors was met with Tashi and Ramil.
Tashi was nice, but part of her personality was that she was very closed off and removed. This makes sense for her culture, and it was fascinating, but it also served to close her off to me. I felt like I was never able to get around her walls and know her on a deeper level. The glimpses I did see were likable. She began the book as a very timid girl, but she grew considerably through the book becoming a woman I would have loved if only she would let me.
Ramil pretty much killed the book for me. He irritated me so much with his bravado, impulsiveness, and stubborn inability to see beyond his own perspective. He’s supposed to be at least somewhat off-putting in the beginning, but I don’t think I was supposed to dislike him as much as I did. His growth was less apparent than Tashi’s, making him seem even more childish in comparison. Since I disliked Ramil so much, I had a hard time getting on board with their romance and I didn’t really feel that happy spark when they got together.
For fantasy lovers
The world Julia Golding described was both familiar and creative. The competing cultures were detailed and extremely interesting to learn about. Ramil’s culture is a lot more standard, but Tashi’s was unique. I loved learning all about the various customs and aspects of her culture. It was also interesting to see the clash of cultures. Julia Golding superbly highlighted the truly alien feelings that occur when two distinctly different cultures meet.
The plot itself was pretty standard fare for the high fantasy genre. The whole thing was very predictable and offered nothing new to the fantasy genre. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a complaint though. I don’t mind predictable plots like this because it’s a storyline I enjoy reading. If the characters had captured my heart, I probably would have made this a five star book regardless of the predictable plot.
One thing I didn’t like about the plot was that I found it a plodding in places. Again, if I had loved the characters I probably wouldn’t have minded, but as it was I frequently found myself bored. The action parts were good, but even they needed that little boost that is usually filled in by the charisma of the characters.
Should you read it?
That’s really up to you. If the plot sounds interesting to you, then I think you should give it a try for sure. If you click with the characters then you’ll probably love Dragonfly. I’m glad I read this book and if I find it for cheap then I would buy a copy. I’m just disappointed I didn’t love the book as much as I was expecting.(less)