**I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own**
I was really excited when I was approved to read this book in advance on Net Galley. I inhaled the entire story in one day and could not put it down. I really didn't even want to stop to eat.
The world-building in this young adult fantasy novel pulled me in from the beginning. We're in a land where dragons exist and only a few humans can speak their language. Dragons need gold, silver and jewels to eat, and in this land that has mostly worked out, though the dragons are thinning out as the humans expand. There's a great line early on in the book that laments that fact that humans use for money the same things that dragons need to eat. But most dragons only need to eat once a year, and if you leave their hoard alone they mostly leave you alone.
Lotte Meer may only be sixteen, but she's one of the few Dragontongue's left. A natural born talent, she's been honing it to feed herself and her nana since she was sixteen. Lotte's one of those characters that pulls you in right away. She's got a healthy respect for dragons, is a protector by nature, has some parent issues and has a fun, slightly sarcastic first person voice that carries the whole book from quiet to more suspenseful moments.
When Lotte's enlisted to leave her country home for a job in a nearby city she's convinced she can reason with the dragon terrorizing the people. But this dragon doesn't behave like other dragons. He's huge, vicious and holding the whole city captive--draining their wealth, destroying other dragons and taking human lives. All while demanding a magical object. Lotte tries to reason with him, while falling in love with the cunning near-criminal Maryse. Lotte's discoveries about her own background and family, paired with her new love interest's vindictive brother and the looming threat of the dragon make this compelling story one part fantasy, one part sapphic romance, one part coming of age and one part thriller. The combination is enthralling.
You can, and should, pre-order it here: https://entangledpublishing.com/books/hearts-forged-in-dragon-fire