Fire With Fire
In this contemporary fantasy, the half-Mexican, half-Scottish Rivera sisters—17-year-old Dani and 19-year-old Eden—have grown up in a family of dragon hunters in the middle of the U.S.’s Smoky Mountains, trained from birth to serve as “one of the few bastions protecting humanity from dragonkind.” Despite Eden’s greater dedication, Dani’s skill outstrips her sister’s. When Dani develops a rare bond with a dragon named Nox, she is forced to reconsider her previous beliefs on their danger. Eden’s own decision to contact the sorcerers—the dragon hunters’ mysterious allies—in order to save Dani turns the sisters into enemies, setting the scene for a conflict wherein their personal relationship becomes intertwined with the political. Soria (Beneath the Citadel) skillfully delves into the complexities of sibling dynamics—in part through Eden’s feelings of insecurity around Dani, whose careless approach and desire for “normal teenager plans” grates on Eden—in alternating third-person chapters. Though the worldbuilding occasionally lacks detail, and teenage bisexual Dani’s light romance is somewhat uneven, multidimensional supporting characters strengthen the narrative with humor and pithy dialogue, while tight, spare prose ensures the narrative retains vigor.