Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he's loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn't even know Darien exists. On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she's going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.
When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival. (Taken from the Amazon product description)
I'll start this review by saying that Young Adult is not my preferred genre. However, that doesn't mean that I hated the book. In fact, I think this book has an excellent idea—first, the emotions of becoming a sacrifice in and of themselves are immense. And, when she doesn't die, what then? What comes after the point Tai thinks her life would end? I once read a graphic novel that dealt with similar themes. Korean, I believe.* It really caught my eye. The idea of being put, unwilling, into such a situation is quite compelling for a story. Definite conflict there, and the plot of the series hasn't even started yet.
Unfortunately, I felt a little disjointed by the characterization. I found myself questioning how Darien could love her so much when he had never spoken to her. I'm also not entirely sure why Tai was, ah, that forward with him when they first met. Even if she didn't know who he was. I think that could have been clarified a bit more. Another thing I would have liked to see expanded on was the description—the story takes place in a world a lot like our own, but I didn't figure that out until she had moved to the city. Even after then I had a hard time picturing it.
That being said, I did like the story. It provides all the necessary elements of a story. There is conflict, both internal and external, and, through their struggles with the conflict, the characters change. The world is complex and large, and I think the twists at the end lead nicely into what I assume will be a continuing YA saga.