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Reader’s Advisory: Scorched by Mari Mancusi

Scorched

by Mari Mancusi

Sourcebooks Fire, ISBN-10 1402284586, $16.99 hardcover, September 2013

Trinity
Don’t leave me here… It starts with a whisper. At first Trinity thinks she’s going crazy. It wouldn’t be a big surprise—her grandpa firmly believes there’s a genuine dragon egg in their dusty little West Texas town. But this voice is real, and it’s begging for her protection. Even if no one else can hear it…
Connor
He’s come from a future scorched by dragonfire. His mission: Find the girl. Destroy the egg. Save the world.
Caleb
He’s everything his twin brother Connor hates: cocky, undisciplined, and obsessed with saving dragons.
Trinity has no idea which brother to believe. All she has to go by is the voice in her head—a dragon that won’t be tamed.

Have you seen Reign of Fire? Have you seen Terminator? Have you seen How To Train Your Dragon? Okay, congrats, you’ve read this book.

That’s not to say it’s a horrible book, just highly derivative. Consider: Caleb has come back from the future to save Trinity and her egg. Connor has come to destroy them. (Terminator.) Their future is an apocalyptic hell in which most of the world has been destroyed by dragons (Reign of Fire.) But dragons are actually super cool and misunderstood! (How to Train Your Dragon.) Okay, you’re up to speed.

This story had a ton of potential, but it becomes muddled quickly. The time-traveling element hurts it; the focus is on what might happen in Trinity’s future instead of what’s actually happening in the book. Also, while the dragon is in the egg for most of the book, there’s this other dimension where dead and unborn dragons exist in spirit, and Trinity spends quite a lot of time there with the grown-up spirit version of her dragon, so readers don’t get to see their bond grow. It just is. Then there’s Trinity’s “torn between two brothers, er, lovers, feelin’ like a fool” dilemma, because even though she’s recently picked up a dragon egg, people from the future are either trying to kill her or trying to lock her up “for her own safety,” she’s discovered an extra dimension, her only living relative is in terrible danger, and she’s learned that her future actions will bring on the APOCALYPSE, Trinity still has plenty of time and energy for a love triangle with two hot brothers.

Some teens might enjoy the improbable and tangled plot here, but for better draconic reads, tell them to try out Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (bearing in mind that several of the books contain explicit sexual content), or Sophie Jordan’s Firelight series.

Recommend to: Rabid fans of dragons, time travel, and love triangles.

To buy or not to buy: Additional purchase for medium to large YA collections.

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