Alliana, Girl of Dragons, by Julie Abe

Alliana, Girl of Dragons, by Julie Abe (August 2, 2022, Little Brown), is a prequel to the utterly delightful Eva Evergreen series.  Though I very much enjoyed Alliana's adventures, I can't quite call it delightful--it's a Japanese-infused Cinderella story, and it was hard for me to read about Alliana being tormented by her stepmother and stepbrother.  They are truly awful to her, and she is trapped by debts she'll never be able to pay off, no matter how hard she works in the family inn.  Her one hope is to be chosen for the Royal Academy, but her stepmother will stop at nothing to keep her from leaving....

Alliana does have one person who loves her--the grandmother who lives up at the top of the inn, sewing tapestries and always ready with stories of myths and legends.  When the grandmother dies, Alliana's life seems even more hopeless, but magic is real in her world, and so are dragons....

Gathering plants as far as she can get from her stepmother, Alliana saves a baby nightdragon, and they form a strong and loving bond, though she can't possibly take it home with her.  And chance also brings her the friendship of a young witch, Nela.  And then chance pushes even harder at Alliana's life, forcing her to confront a magical danger that is threatening even the most powerful witches of the land.  She realizes, with the help of her friends, that she's a person of value, and is instrumental (along with the dragon) in setting things right.

Great for young readers who:

like kids in unhappy circumstances who not only get magical endings (this isn't a Cinderella story where the girl marries the prince, but the beautiful dress problem, which I always appreciated as a kid, is here!) but who also survive trauma and end the book starting to heal with the help of people who love them.

like stories of kids loving and caring for magical creatures

want to be friends with a witch their own age who will give them broomstick rides!

loved Eva Evergreen! (which I now want to reread* possibly then moving on to re-reading this one, which I will enjoy more than the first time around because of not being sad and anxious for Alliana. )

*I'm glad to have a solid tbr pile because there were dark years when I didn't have enough to read, but I also miss the re-reading I did back then.....

Disclaimer: review copy received at ALA


  1. I loved Eva Evergreen so this sounds like a book I'd like. And who wouldn't want a broomstick ride? Thanks for your great review.

  2. I'm really excited to read this one, too! I also loved the Eva Evergreen books.


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