There be Dragons on the Horizon – when women were dragons (Kelly Barnhill) – It’s Wyrd & Wonder!

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received an eArc of this fantasy novel through NetGalley in exchange for me honest musings . . .

Title: when women were dragons
Author: Kelly Barnhill
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Publication Date: TODAY!!! (hardcover/e-book)
ISBN: 978-0385548229
Source:  NetGalley

When Women Were Dragons

I have read Barnhill’s young adult work before so I was intrigued to see how she would deal with dragons.  This book follows Alex Green.  In 1955 America experiences the Mass Dragoning where over 300,000 women spontaneously turn into dragons.  This book explores the event through the lens of Alex’s childhood into adulthood and beyond.

I thought the first third was absolutely engaging.  I loved reading about Alex’s family and how the Dragoning manifested and was originally dealt with.  I particularly loved Alex’s aunt.  I found the subsequent parts less compelling.  The second third deals with what happens when Alex’s family splinters and how she finishes high school.  I did enjoy this section though the pacing was much slower.  Sadly the last third of the book where the dragons reenter society and how Alex deals with the implications was much less fun.

I think the major problem about the last section of the book was how the internal logic seemed to make little sense to me and have no real point.  And I really didn’t like the ending at all.  That said, I truly loved the beginning and did love Alex and the aunt as characters.  I found the author’s work to be well written with interesting societal commentary even if the parts didn’t fully come together for me in the end.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself.

To visit the author’s website go to:
Kelly Barnhill – Author

To buy the book go to:
when women were dragons – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:
Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Posts for this Author

the girl who drank the moon (Captain’s Log – YA Fantasy)

It is WYRD & WONDER Month!

2 thoughts on “There be Dragons on the Horizon – when women were dragons (Kelly Barnhill) – It’s Wyrd & Wonder!

  1. I know very little about this book (despite reading an interview with the author on Locus magazine) but it just sounds fascinating. I’m sorry to hear it didn’t end as well as it started for you, though.


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