Jake Mendoza grew up in a dragon haven, in a world just like ours except that dragons are only almost extinct. Nobody has ever communicated with them, though, until by chance our hero finds a baby dragon and rears it and manages to change the relationship between the two intelligent species forever.
Normally I adore McKinley. I even liked her vampire book, (and I hate vampires,) and her Robin Hood book, though Robin Hood does nothing for me. I don't think there's anything of hers I haven't read over and over.
All the same, this one left me feeling restless and vaguely unsatisfied.
What is wrong with this book?
It's not that it isn't the world's most original plot, because honestly I don't care about that.
It's not that McKinley can't handle first person -- she's done it before flawlessly in The Blue Sword and Beauty. (They were both a long time ago, though. Maybe she's forgotten how? Or maybe it's a problem because Jake is a guy, and it's harder for her to do a teenage boy than teenage girl? Don't know.)
It's not a problem with the dragons. The dragons are right out of Dickinson's The Flight of Dragons, unacknowledged, but I suppose that's all right when it's your husband! They're telepathic, but hey, they're dragons, and anyway, they're also marsupial which makes up for it.
It may be that our first person narrator Jake has a headache (caused by the telepathy) for the whole book, which gave me a sympathetic headache by the end. Maybe if I read it again I'll like it better.
Maybe it's because it's much closer to SF than what McKinley usually writes, maybe she has a better handle on controlling magic than modern world tech and scientific (if telepathic) dragons.
But... I think it was the voice.
While there were a lot of things I liked about it, it seemed all the way through to keep pulling away from what was important and leave me hearing about it filtered and from a distance. It's a good example of the hazards of first person, I suppose, but I didn't really need one.
I wanted to like this book, and I'm sorry I didn't.