Please hold on for a minute while I try and process everything that I just read. I need to let the feeling of reading a book that I loved - like, in an oh-my-god, swoonworthy, I want to read it again right this very minute is that weird? kind of way - wash over me for a second.
My only complaint, and it's not a real complaint, is that now I have to wait a painful amount of time (1 year? 2 years?) for the next book to come out, in order to find out how the series will end. I don't know if I can handle the waiting, you guys, I really don't.
You see, I went into this book thinking that it was the final book. Trilogies are all the rage after all, right? Once I got 90% through, I finally figured out that it wasn't, and my stomach kind of dropped. I'm trying to look at the bright side here - I mean, I get a whole additional book filled with this amazing, young-adult, fantasy romance story, right? But oh, the waiting, the waiting, the waiting...
Okay, so, now that all of my feelings have processed (somewhat), I guess I should talk about the actual book itself. In this book, we continue to follow the adventures of Daria, who is now trying to find the box of Pandor (with Alex and Vera in tow). Meanwhile, Eris' army of shadowriders is pressing in on Valdon, which paints a pretty dire picture for Stefan and his realm.
So, what specifically did I love about Breath of Dragons, then? Pretty much all of the same things that I loved about Gaia's Secret, but multiplied exponentially because in this book, the stakes were much higher. To sum it up though, we have engrossing adventures and a great overarching storyline - check; a wonderfully sweet but seemingly star-crossed romance - check; interesting world-building and fantasy elements - check; dragons - check; characters that you love and want to see succeed - check; and, last but not least, excellent writing that's descriptive and right on point with pacing - check.
Regarding the pacing, the previous book (The Keeper's Flame) had slowed things down a bit in order to portray Daria's life in the castle. But, I'm happy to say that Breath of Dragons utilizes more of the same wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am action-packed speed of the first book. There was never a dull moment, indeed, and that's saying a lot considering that this book was 120 pages longer than either of the last two installments.
I also think that Ms. Kloss made improvements to the structure of the narrative. One of my big issues with having a singular first-person narrative (especially in multi-book series) is that the world becomes too big in scope to be portrayed to the reader effectively by just one character. Fortunately, Kloss recognized this, and even though over 90% of the book is from Daria's point of view, we do get occasional peaks into the thoughts of some other characters.
If I had one honest criticism about Breath of Dragons, it'd be that Daria's abilities are becoming a bit deus ex machina, and it seems like there's almost nothing she can't do (or at least, won't be able to do eventually). Alex is also a bit too perfect, so it's not like Daria is the only one getting the super-hero treatment from Kloss. Character depth is certainly not the book's strength, let's just say. Yet, when it comes down to it, I don't even care because it didn't stop me from loving the characters or the story.
(Also, as a side note, I really missed Fleck in this book, but I'm hoping he'll have a major role in the series conclusion!)
So, there you have it. This book was amazing, and everyone who enjoys young-adult fantasy and/or fantasy romance should give this series a whirl. Anyone who has already started the series should feel confident proceeding with Breath of Dragons, because it's the best book in the series so far. And anyone who has already read Breath of Dragons and now has to wait what seems like forever for the series conclusion can join me in a fetal position on the floor.