SummerDanse - Terie Garrison This review covers all four books in the DragonSpawn Cycle (AutumnQuest, WinterMajeic, SpringFire, and SummerDanse).

I read the first part of AutumnQuest awhile ago and liked it--it showed a lot of promise, an engaging voice, and I liked the premise of a girl who has to rescue her brother from being executed because he found a dragon egg. And I did like it--for about four chapters, and then things fell apart (and got worse in the next three books).

I could maybe stomach the 'chosen one' syndrome if it had been secondary to the narrator's initial quest (her own decision to rescue her brother). Unfortunately the 'chosen one must save us because the rest of the world, and all the smart, capable people in it (most of whom need to rescue the useless narrator) are hapless, due to plot necessity' elements overwhelmed any possible agency the narrator might have had.

The most charitable thing I can say is I've probably read worse. (And the books are short.) If you combine the books, I swear 2.5 is made up of nothing but the narrator (she is not a protagonist--she doesn't DO anything, things merely happen to her as she mopes around) sleeping, recovering, being imprisoned, sulking, and crying. In other words, she does nothing. People seem to exist only to help her recover, tell her what happened while she was being useless, rescue her because she can't do anything herself, and comfort her by telling her she's special.

The antagonists were walking cliches, there is no tension, the pacing is a mess (all that sleeping/recovering/crying? tends to take up a good third of each book, maybe more), the cool bits of world building are glossed over or ignored or result in everything being too easy, and a confrontation/climax that took three books to set up is over in one paragraph, in which the narrator does nothing.

There was promise--the conflict that resulted in Stychs, the dragon masters, whatever the hell the tattoo Donovah gets in book 3 is supposed to mean, the possibility of old gods resurfacing, etc--but none of it panned out, or was handled poorly.

An unlikeable narrator, an uninspired cast, contrived and cliche antagonists, awkward plotting and pacing, and too many other problems made these books painful for me to read by the end.