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Keep Your Friends Close and Your Dragon Lords Closer

Mandy C. goes to Dragon Camp and learns the ways of the Slayers in the first two books in C.J. Hill’s fantasy series.

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Dragon Lords Closer

BOOK REPORT for Slayers and Slayers: Friends and Traitors (Slayers 1 and 2) by C.J. Hill

Cover Story: Oh, Snap vs. Yeah, We Got This
BFF Charm: Eventually
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: Feels Familiar
Bonus Factors: Dragons, Superpowers
Anti-bonus Factor: Love Triangle
Relationship Status: Let’s Make Indefinite Future Plans

Cover Story: Oh, Snap vs. Yeah, We Got This

Slayers: Oh, Snap

Watch out, frightened prom-goer! There’s a dragon about to eat you!

Slayers: Friends and Traitors: Yeah, We Got This

If that’s the same girl from the first cover, she’s obviously found some inner strength, because that’s dragon’s nothing but a skeleton. Perhaps one of the two dudes beside her (or both) have helped?

The Deal:

Tori Hampton has been obsessed with dragons for as long as she can remember. She studies them, she dreams about them and she fears them, as though they were real creatures. For years she’s wanted to dive into this obsession at Dragon Camp, a summer camp for kids interested in learning more about the mythology of dragons, but as she’s the daughter of a senator—and Dragon Camp isn’t really “proper” for a person of her status—she isn’t allowed to attend until she’s 16 and the camp begins to offer college credit.

When Tori finally arrives at camp, she’s whisked away to separate part of the camp where she learns, much to her shock, that she’s a Slayer, a person with a genetic disposition toward battling dragons, which are real and as dangerous as one would imagine. The few living dragons in the world are currently under the control of Brant Overdrake, a Dragon Lord whose genetics are exact opposites of the Slayers and whose goal in life is to use the dragons to create a new world order.

Tori and her fellow slayers spend the entire summer training in preparation for the day when Overdrake makes his move. But will a handful of teenagers with intermittent superpowers be able to save the world?

BFF Charm: Roger Murtagh

Tori began the series as a spoiled rich girl. She’s not a horrible person—she’s actually quite nice—but she’s not really someone that I’d connect with, even with her interest in something as nerdy as dragons. When she gets to camp, she quickly learns that the world is nothing like she imagined and therefore is forced to get a little less naive. Still, the Slayer thing doesn’t make her entirely interesting. (Plus, she’s nothing like that other Slayer we all know and love.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Upon arriving at camp, Tori is immediately interested in both Slayer team captains: Dirk, an all-American, quarterback of the football team-looking type guy, and Jesse, his more mysterious and serious, yet equally good looking counterpart. Both of the guys are typical love interests for a pretty rich girl looking for a summer fling, but, thankfully, there’s more to them than meets the eye.

Talky Talk: Feels Familiar

There’s something awfully familiar about Slayers, and the story of a group of kids who attend a summer camp to train to fight evil. But this series lacks a lot of the magic of that other series, and the life-threatening evil seems more Dr. Evil than Big Bad (i.e., a lot of speechifying and being overbearing rather than actually being evil). I do have to hand it to her; C.J. Hill has created an interesting world with the idea that some people have dormant superhero genes, but there’s just something lacking in the execution.

Bonus Factor: Dragons

The Dragons in Slayers and Slayers: Friends and Traitors are brutal creatures. They’re controllable by Dragon Lords, who can enter their minds and influence their decisions, but they’re still vicious animals. And yet, they’re awesome.

Bonus Factor: Superpowers

While the Slayers’ mothers were pregnant, the women came into contact with signals dragons give off while in their eggs. These signals “woke up” dormant genes in the fetuses and gave the babies superpowers including increased strength, speed, sight, etc. When the Slayers come into contact with a dragon’s signal, their powers are increased even more, and each gain specific additional abilities such as flight, shield throwing (i.e., creating a force field), flame quenching, fireball throwing, etc. Pretty badass powers, for sure.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Love Triangle

Tori is caught between Dirk and Jesse, and it’s not until the end of the second book that the triangle is resolved. Kind of. What happens in future books might throw that resolution out the window.

Casting Call:

Bella Thorne as Tori

William Moseley as Dirk

Robert Adamson as Jesse

Relationship Status: Let’s Make Indefinite Future Plans

I like the idea of you, Book, but you didn’t suck me in to your story as much as I would have wanted. I like your secondary characters more than your main, and I still, even after two meetings, haven’t connected with your protagonist. I’d like to see what happens next, however, so I hope we can get together again. My schedule is pretty full right now, though, so we’ll just have to play it by ear.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copies from Feiwel & Friends. I received neither half-price Christmas candy nor money for this review. Slayers and Slayers: Friends and Traitors are available now.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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