In the first book in an exciting new coming-of-age fantasy series from the author of the Age of Fire series, an impoverished girl enters into a military order of dragonriders, but her path won't be as easy or as straightforward as she expected.
Fourteen-year-old Ileth grew up in an orphanage, and thanks to her stutter was never thought to be destined for much beyond kitchen work and cleaning. But she's dreamed of serving with the dragons ever since a childhood meeting with a glittering silver dragon and its female dragoneer. For years she waits, and as soon as she is old enough to join, Ileth runs away to become a novice dragoneer at the ancient human-dragon fortress of the Serpentine.
While most of her fellow apprentices are from rich and influential families, Ileth must fight for her place in the world, even if it includes a duel with her boss at the fish-gutting table. She's then sent off to the dragon-dancers after a foolish kiss with a famously named boy and given charge of a sickly old dragon with a mysterious past. But she finds those trials were nothing when she has to take the place of a dead dragoneer and care for his imprisoned dragon in enemy lands. . . .
A young woman strives to fulfill her childhood dream of becoming a dragon rider in this epic coming-of-age fantasy, the first in the Dragoneer Academy series from Knight (Baltic Gambit). Orphan Ileth, at 14, applies to the Serpentine Academy and wins a coveted spot as a novice. Initially, she's assigned the least-desirable tasks, but over the next two years the Masters of Apprentices promote her to the roll of dancer for the dragons and then use her as a political hostage, sending her to a neighboring kingdom in return for the release of a prisoner of war. Never losing sight of her goal to become a full-fledged dragoneer, Ileth navigates school bullying, misogyny, and political intrigue while forging a name for herself across the Vale Republic. While Ileth is young and her story will have crossover YA appeal, her emotional maturity and resilience make her exploits accessible to older readers. Despite hints at an ambitious larger universe, the focus remains narrowly trained on Ileth, leaving much to be explored. This leisurely paced, episodic adventure is a promising series opener.