Author: Nandi Taylor
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
“The captivating worldbuilding of magical lands and well-paced plot and character development combined with intriguing twists will have readers looking forward to more. ” – Kirkus Reviews
A subversive fantasy-romance steeped in West-African and Caribbean traditions.
Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.
No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.
Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.
Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.
The premise of this novel was so intoxicating: a land where people can change into dragon form within a breath. Not only that, but a school exists where students can learn both in human and dragon form. What is interesting is that students also learn spells and runes.
The story changes perspectives between Yenni and Weysh. Yenni is a princess who excels in the art of rune making. Weysh is a dragon/human. Givens are a dragon and a person or dragon destined for each other. Normally, people would die for the opportunity to be someone’s Given, however, that isn’t Yenni. All she cares about is learning healing runes to help her sick father. Of course the last person she wants to see is the only one who can help her.
I promise you this: I will do my best to listen to you and take your needs and concerns to heart. I will respect you and cherish you as no other man will.
I thought there was so much more that could’ve come from this concept. The love between Yenni and Weysh wasn’t really believable for me. It happened too fast and went from hate to love all of a sudden. I know you can’t help who you fall in love with, but then don’t make promises you can’t keep. I wanted more action and thought something more was going to come. The wait for a big fight was real…but then it didn’t come.
I will never give up on you. And if you choose to leave, I’ll be waiting until my dying breath for you to return.
Readers would enjoy this because of the world-building. The descriptions of Yenni’s family made me feel like I knew them and the geography made me feel like I was in a Harry Potter movie. After reading the end of the novel, there is potential for this to become a series.
Given is a story of diversity, adversity, and how love overcomes all.