Hidden (Dragonlands #1)
by Megg Jensen.
I received a free copy of this book for review from NetGalley.
Oh, where to start with this one… How about the cover? You’ll notice there’s a dragon on it, and that the series is called Dragonlands, so it should be no surprise that I jumped on this. It’s the story of Tressa, a girl growing up in the village of Hutton’s Bridge, which has been surrounded by a mysterious (and deadly) wall of fog for the past few decades. Each year, 3 people are sent into the fog to try to find a way through; no one ever comes back. And now Tressa’s name has been picked. But the day before she is set to go, a dying dragon falls from the sky, shattering the villagers’ long-held fears/belief that nothing exists on the other side of the fog. That, combined with a sickness ravaging the village, fuels Tressa’s determination to reach the other side of the fog and bring the wall down.
Sadly, this intriguing premise was not very well executed. This book suffers from a surfeit of telling-not-showing syndrome, and being plot-driven rather than character-driven. We never really get inside any of the characters’ heads, and there are a few who exist solely for a single plot point and no other reason (Vinsa, Henry, certain parental figures). The decisions of the main characters are often baffling and out of nowhere. And there was such unrealized potential for worldbuilding – I wanted to know more about this world and the Dragonlords, but they are never really explained or gone into much detail about. Which is a shame. And I realize this is only book #1 in a series and some things may be made clearer in book #2, but as an addict of fantasy series in general, I know it’s possible to world build more than this and better than this in the first book.
Overall, it was an interesting idea, but it just didn’t deliver for me. I won’t be picking up book #2.