The story, The Fire Within the Storm by Kim Vermaak, has an intriguing title and gorgeous cover, so I was super excited to read this book. But, I kept starting and stopping and then needing to reread. I had a little difficulty getting into this story. However, once I was solidly hooked, I stayed up late to keep reading. So please, if it is a slow start for you as well, keep reading, it will be worth it!
I think it would benefit a reader to have read the first book in the series to fully understand the characters. However, this book can successfully be read as a stand-alone book as I did. It is easy to follow the plot as the Dragons and their keepers are used and betrayed as the dragon egg is stolen. Quickly the reader is pulled into the story. Likewise, the need to escape, and the risk of being caught is a clear plot. Nadine soon learns that her daring dragon rescue was but a tiny step, and that the conquest of the world by King Radolf will involve her far more than she knew. Becoming an apprentice Dragon Whisperer is an honor and a high title, but Nadine does not want it.
The story is well written and edited. This would have been a deal breaker for me, but it is easy for the reader to immerse into the story with no technical issues to pull them out of the story. The dialog is believable. The attention to details is fantastic. For example, Nicolouse and his family were provided everything they might need when they moved into the abandoned manor house. Everything from two sets of clothes for each family member, to “fragrant herbs” for the kitchen garden.
I recommend this book for a wide range of audiences. For a young adult reader, I think it would be easier for one to read this book within the series and not as a standalone. There is fighting and betrayal, but not a lot of gore making it appropriate for schools.