Fire & Heist, by Sarah Beth Durst

Fire & Heist, by Sarah Beth Durst is a great book for the younger YA set that twists dragons, a dangerous heist, and a portal fantasy into a family/friendship/coming of age real-world framework.

Imagine that some people in today's world are actually fire breathing wyverns; not shapeshifting into dragon form like their ancestors, but still busily hoarding gold (and stealing it from each other) and being all wyverny in a somewhat snooty way (but with no scales...).  Sky is a wyvern, and her family used to be very close to the top of the draconic pecking order. But when a heist of her mother's went totally wrong, the family has been shunned by the other wyvern families.  And her mother never came home.

Sky's boyfriend Ryan, and all her high school wyvern pals, have cut her off.  She wants her mother back.  And she wants to know what secrets her father and her three older brothers are keeping from her.  So she sets off to find what her mother was trying to steal from Ryan's father, and steal it herself to redeem her family, and maybe find her mother too and bring her home.  A good heist, especially when there are both magical and technological obstacles in the way, needs a good team, and Sky assembles one--Ryan, who only shunned her to save her from his father (or so he says), a wyvern magician, and a human classmate, Gabrielle, who researches interesting things as a hobby, and who was there to befriend Sky when her wyvern cohort abandoned her (I love Gabrielle!).

But Sky's heist doesn't go as planned....(this is where the portal fantasy part comes in, but I don't want to be too spoilery….).  Dragons are involved, lots of them...

And then there's a happy ending!

Back when I was 13, YA fantasy wasn't really a thing; my local library had maybe 4 fantasy books on the three small shelves labeled "YA."  (The only one I remember being shelved there is The Blue Sword). One went straight from the magical stories in the kids' section to Dragonriders of Pern etc.   Today of course there's lots of YA speculative fiction....and I've read a lot of it, but many of the books don't seem written for readers like 13-year-old me; the concerns are mostly more realistically adult than I would have wanted, since I mostly wanted escapism.  I almost never say about a YA book that I want to give it to young teen Charlotte, but this one is just perfect for the sort of 13 year old I was--not ready to think about growing up, dreaming of dragons and unicorns and kissing cute boys (all equally fantastical).  And grown-up me enjoyed it just fine too!

So if you weren't or aren't that sort of reader, you might find this reads a bit young to you.  But Sarah Beth Durst's writing is lots of fun regardless, Sky is a snappy sort of heroine, and the premise is lovely, so give it a try!

disclaimer: review copy received from the author

1 comment:

  1. Nice to know about a fantasy for the younger YA readers. Thanks for telling me about it.


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