Carol Kean's Reviews > The Dragon's Call

The Dragon's Call by K.W. McCabe
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's review
Apr 12, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

Cecily looks like a typical teenage girl. Her boyfriend just dumped her; her brother falls in love with her best friend, leaving Cecily without her two most trusted confidantes; her dad is over-protective of her AND expects her to keep her brother out of trouble; things just couldn't get worse! Then again, things can always get worse, and they always do. The hot, hot new boys in school? They're dragons in human form. Everyone is terrified--except for Cecily. It's not that she's too stupid to recognize danger. Her dragon-hating father seems to know better than anyone how bad dragons really are. She just...isn't afraid of these dragon-boys, even though--or maybe because?--everyone else cowers from them.

Dragons are a staple of legend and literature, but they seem to be neglected as vampires and werewolves dominate today's literary landscape. "Dragon's Call" is just the novel that could change all that. With a romance to rival TWILIGHT's Bella and Edward, K.W. McCabe does what the other novel should have done: she lets the father play a bigger role than Bella's did, for who could doubt that Bella's father is really the funniest and most intriguing character in the whole novel? McCabe dedicates most of the narrative to Cecily and Derek, two teenagers fighting the kind of racial taboo that Romeo and Juliet couldn't have imagined. But Cecily's father, along with a mysterious journal writer and dragon-war survivor, make this novel more than a teen romance or fantasy.

By far the best part of DRAGON'S CALL, for me, are the journal entries of Todd Burns, the one human who lived to tell the tale of battling the dragons who conquered earth after a long, bloody war. Todd's cynical account of the stupid general who awoke a sleeping dragon under Mt. Everest is chilling and hilarious. Todd's diary entries are so witty, caustic, poignant and memorable, I wished the whole novel could equal his point of view. Instead, Todd shares the story-telling with Cecily and Derek, the teenage dragon (draakon) who hatched after the war had ended. None of these teens, draakon or human, ever knew life before dragons came to rule the earth. The third-person point of view for Cecily and Derek lack the power and humor of Todd's first-person viewpoint, and the third-person prose gets wordy or slow, at times, but the conflicts and themes of DRAGON'S CALL elevate this novel to something better than a mere forbidden-fruit romance (yes, I'm thinking of the proverbial apple on the cover of TWILIGHT).

Cecily's world looks bleak, but it's the only world she's even known. Humans lost; dragons won; now people live in squalor and in servitude to the dragons, who live in luxury. Every evening, humans must empty the streets or suffer for violating the dragon-imposed curfew. Though dragons by law are prohibited from harming humans, someone or something has been killing occasional violators of the curfew. Cecily's mother has been one of the victims, leaving Cecily to console her depressed father while stoically coping with her own grief.

The dragon boys, Derek and Tariq, have been taught to hate the whole human race. The lessons are drilled into them daily: "Humans were unworthy of ruling what they tried to destroy. Humans were little more than stupid pets needing a leash. Humans had to be controlled or they would destroy everything." But, but, but..."the young humans seemed rational, sort of, most of the time," Derek thinks. One in particular stirs in him the most irrational conviction: his destiny is to love, for life, a human girl named Cecily. How will he ever explain that to his mother, the Dragon Queen?

Too bad Derek doesn't get to read Todd's diaries. He keeps wondering: "Why did all the humans he'd come across seem so afraid? What had created so much animosity between dragonkind and humans?"

Cecily's dad could tell him, but he's too busy teaching Cecily to have nothing--NOTHING--to do with dragons.

Her father's weary, mournful, over-protective demeanor is a stark contrast to the journal entries of Todd Burns, an impassioned young man who fights bloody battles against the dragons -- and watches as all his men die, but he remains standing. He's the rare human who can resist the call of a dragon, and he suffers guilt and torment over his growing desire to join the winged monsters when they sail in the sky. Todd's passion, his sarcasm, his conflicted feelings about humans losing their world to dragons, versus his own inexplicable yearning to be one with the dragons, make the novel intriguing.

Humans know they must never, ever look a dragon in the eye, yet Cecily alone seems immune to the power of a dragon's gaze. Derek, however, is not immune to the charms of Cecily. Ultimately, he will be forced to choose between the girl he loves and his position as heir to the dragon throne. Cecily must choose between loyalty to her father versus Derek the ultimate outsider.

The complications of a world ruled by dragons could be more clearly and deeply explored, but the focus of this novel is more on Cecily and Derek and the conflicts they face with her father, his mother, their friends and siblings, an unknown killer at large, and social taboos. The climax is full of surprises, so I can't say all the things I'd like to. I'll just say this: Dragon boys are smokin' hot, Todd Burns is marvelous, Cecily is a not-so-ordinary girl after all, and the ending is a cliff hanger that demands a sequel. Tough moral decisions test Derek's mettle, and his choices make us cheer for him yet hope for better to come. Well, come on, K.W. McCabe, don't keep us waiting!
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