|Alliana, girl of dragons|
Author: Abe, Julie
Alliana spends her days tending to her stepfamily's inn at the edge of the abyss, but when she rescues an orphaned nightdragon and later helps an apprentice witch, she seizes her chance to escape her stepmother's tyranny and find her own happily ever after.
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/22)
School Library Journal (09/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2022 Gr 3–7—In Abe's latest middle grade fantasy, a standalone set in the familiar world of her "Eva Evergreen" series, Alliana of Rivelle wishes to walk the path to her dreams but is stuck in dusty Narashino with her cruel stepfamily. Orphaned at a young age and forced to cater to every laborious demand to appease her ruthless stepmother, Alliana's miserable life working at the inn is only made bearable by the time she spends with her kind grandmother, who tells her hopeful stories worthy of inspiring the beautiful tapestries they sew together. But when tragedy occurs, Alliana is left alone until she rescues a nightdragon hatchling, who she names Kabo. The bond between the young girl and dragon is especially endearing and adds a fascinating element to this Japanese Cinderella retelling, further enriched by the art in every chapter header. Likewise, Alliana's other friendships are lovely and magical as she befriends apprentice witch Nela. As they conquer the abyss and its other dangerous creatures, Alliana learns that being brave is the key to unraveling her own great future. VERDICT An empowering fairy-tale retelling about friendship and chosen family; recommended for middle grade shelves.—Hazel Ureta - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2022 Alliana’s father has died, leaving her in the care of her reluctant stepmother, who forces Alliana to cook and clean for the family, including two detestable stepsiblings, and keep their dilapidated inn from collapsing around them. Only Grandmother Mari is kind, reciting folktales for Alliana, until Mari's death seems to doom Alliana to a life of never-ending drudgery. Determined that she’s made for better than her miserable lot, Alliana plots to escape to the shining capital city, and a few surprises, including a novice witch and friendly dragon, give Alliana the push to pursue the life she longs for. This Japanese Cinderella retelling is thrilling and thoughtful, spinning the well-worn story into something fresh and complex. The tale is set prior to Abe’s Eva Evergreen (2020); established fans will be delighted to glimpse familiar characters and expand their knowledge about the magical world, though it also works beautifully as a stand-alone story for the uninitiated. An engrossing Cinderella story with deeper friendships, heaps more adventure, and an extra dash of dragons. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.
Booklist - 07/01/2022 - Copyright 2022 Booklist.