Review: Scrapplings (Anamat 01) by Amelia Smith

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review – thank you very much! That fact didn’t influence me in any way.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Everyone in the Tiadun Keep is dragon-blind, even the priestesses. Darna pretends she can’t see the realm’s guardian dragon either – she already gets teased enough for her limp. She flees to the legendary city of Anamat, where some still see the dragons, or so the minstrels say. On her journey, she meets Myril, an older scrappling girl with an eerie sense of hearing and frequent premonitions. Together, they hope to find their places in the city.

Then there’s Iola, who actually wants to be a priestess. She’s so dragon-struck that she can’t see through the temples’ thin veils of piety, can’t see the priestesses’ greed as they fleece their sweaty devotees. Thorat is Iola’s champion. He sees dragons as much as the girls do, but unlike them he’s very good at blending in with normal boys. Darna wishes he would notice her sometimes, too.

In the city, Darna strikes out on her own to find secret passageways. She scavenges for valuable scraps to sell. If she can’t buy a guild apprenticeship by Midsummer, she’ll be exiled from the city, unless the priestesses take her, which is the last thing she wants. So when she’s offered a sack full of gold beads for a small bit of thieving, she takes her chances… and ends up angering the dragon herself.

My impressions:

I can forgive a book many flaws but a heroine too stupid to live, acting with a complete lack of logic, is rarely one of them. I’m sorry to say I have to give Darna, the main character of Scrapplings, such a tag after just several dozen of pages.

She started as a poor servant girl, working very hard in a country keep kitchen and living in squalor. Still when a mighty dragon priestess came to inform her that she is an illegitimate daughter of a prince, the Prince actually, she didn’t want to have anything to do with her newly-found father. As if dirt, hard work and squalor weren’t that bad in Theranis. She didn’t even give it a try. Why? The Prince was rumoured, only rumoured mind you, to follow a new philosophy according to which dragons equaled demons. Darna happened to be able to see dragons; what’s more, she loved the dragon she connected to, Tiada, and wanted nothing more than to serve it. Still she could have given her father a chance to explain himself, couldn’t she? By the way how a simple scullery maid knew anything about princes and their philosophies, old or new?

Then I was told Darna had too few beads (a kind of local coin) saved to travel to Anamat and serve her dragon properly. A few pages later all of a sudden that heroine hits the road just because she found out her princely daddy actually wanted to acknowledge her as his daughter. What a shame, being made a princess…suddenly the lack of beads to pay for the journey became a non-issue even if it used to be a huuuge obstacle before. I suppose even poor scullery maids have to travel in relative comfort…until they don’t. I admit I lost my patience at that point and stopped reading. Dragons are nice but they are not nearly enough for good fantasy.

Also let me add that the narrative voice I found rather awkward, not able to pull me into the story or interest in the fates of its participants. Oh well. Not my book I suppose.

Final verdict:

After reading and/or skimming about 100 pages (one sixth of the entire novel) I had enough. DNF.

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12 Responses to Review: Scrapplings (Anamat 01) by Amelia Smith

  1. heidenkind says:

    Reading this I wonder if you would like Archangel by Sharon Shinn. No dragons, though!

    • I might try that one if I find it. You know how reckless and foolish I am.

      • Melfka says:

        I vaguely remember reading it (the “Archangel”, I mean). I was young back then and willing to forgive more, but I remember the main character being a bit annoying in her stubbornness too. Though at the same time I do remember it as a quite pleasant, “warm” read.

      • Your comment made me curious. Curiosity killed many cats. Ha. I think I’ll give it a try.

      • Melfka says:

        Oooops. Don’t blame me if you don’t like it ;).
        But it has angels, love story, intrigue and music. And from what I remember, it’s a bit of “old style” story, with a nice romance, some intrigue, but quite simple and “feel good” kind of book.

      • I won’t blame you but I might write a very nasty review. Why?
        Angels are one of my fantasy pet peeves. A love story with angels must be really very good to make me satisfied. Intrigue and music I like. Hmmm…cats usually have nine lives right? 😉

  2. carolerae20 says:

    I loath dumb characters. I get what authors are doing sometimes…but sometimes it makes me wonder how they have lived so long. hahaha

    • My thoughts exactly. I might sound strange but if I were a poor scullery maid and if I found out my daddy was a prince who additionally wanted to acknowledge me officially I would dance with joy and definitely give it a try.

  3. blodeuedd says:

    When you have to DNF you have to DNF

  4. rameau says:

    It’s all in the execution. Or, in this case, not.

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