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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 3 star ratings
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    A great dragon story

    To be honest, I went into Lawless a little warily. I had a rocky start with it--liking the snarkiness between Kesia and Zephryn, but stumbling a little to figure out what was going on. Fleetwings? Talents? Congruency? Scepters? What? But confusion soon cleared and then it was off on an adventure! The dragon-human war has dragged for years with no resolution. On the dragon side, Kesia, convicted murderer, serves as a soldier for the Pinnacle in hopes of redemption; her fleetwing and tactical partner, deposed Prince Zephryn, too has little choice in his involvement. On the human side, Captain Shance Windkeeper has been conscripted into the war, hiding his distaste for it with alcohol and sex everytime he can. Unlikely partners, it would seem--and yet all three must work together to find the truth--and hopefully, stop the war. I love the way Ippolito has created a dragon culture that's almost tangible and the world comes alive. It's also more interesting when the dragonshifters themselves constantly rediscover parts of their culture and lives that have been stolen away from them due to the war. But really, the best thing about Lawless is how fun it is. True, there's war and conspiracy, death and betrayal, but there's also the lighthearted side of life: Kesia muddling through confusing human social customs; Zilpath's gentle teasing; Shance constantly making a fool of himself for love; the banter between Kesia and Zephryn, Kesia and Shance. However, it's not just a flighty read. Interweaved into this lightheartedness are broad themes of worth and redemption, strength and conviction, and faithfulness. Kesia struggles with her self-worth and is constantly fighting to redeem herself. Yet, as she remembers more about her forgotten past, and discovers more about what brought her to that place, she also learns that her past doesn't have to define her future, the actions of others don't necessarily demean her worth, and that who she is is strong enough. Since this is book 1, obviously the story doesn't end yet. It reaches a sort of pause, and I have questions. But they can wait. Until book 2. Note: I received an ARC from the publisher. This review is my own independent and fair evaluation.
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    Fun Dragon-Shifter Adventure

    What I liked best about this story was its sense of fun. It did get serious in places, but it had a lot of great lighter moments. It never became dreary. I've been trying to decide how I would describe this book. I think I would call it a dragon-shifter adventure/mystery set in a steampunk universe. There is almost a dystopian flavor about the human and dragon governments as well, which I liked. World-building was pretty good, though I feel that it took a little more work than it should have to get my bearings in the beginning. I thought the use of book-inspired curse-style words helped with the world-building quite a bit. The relationships between the three main characters were well done. Kesia was a likeable character. She was an interesting mix of strength and vulnerability. Zephryn was strong and stoic, but very emotionally supportive. Don't see that every day. And Shance was a little softer and more fun, which was great. The dragons could have just as easily been aliens, they were so unused to human...anything. Watching them explore and learn with Shance's help was a big part of the story. There were only a few things that might have made the story a little better to me. The ending felt rather bland after such a good story. Also, the focus shifted away from the action a few times right when things were getting exciting. Lastly, the cover of this book didn't quite work for me. The cover is colorful, it just felt a little flat to me. Maybe it has to do with the pose, or the eyes. I'm sure I'm in the minority there, however. All in all, this was a lot of fun and a really great book to start a series. I expect it would be about a PG-13 as a film. There is limited sexual content, but it is not described in detail. The violence and foul language were limited as well. I really did enjoy this book and look forward to continuing the series. I received an ARC of this book. Reviewing was my choice.

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