Some books are like a good warm hug. Anderson’s The Magic Eaters series is like your favourite cool aunt’s. Dragons? Check. Magic? Check. High stakes and romance? Check, check.
Picking something up for your (actual) young adult readers? You won’t go wrong with this one! Capturing the true essence of the genre, you’ll find sunshine layered right alongside the tales of growth and struggle. Think heartache, family disputes, discrimination, sexual orientation, war, pain, addiction, sacrifice, even torture. That might seem like a handful, yet with Anderson at the wheel, the reader never feels set upon by any of it. Such an inviting, flowing tale, it’ll take you by the hand in adolescent whispers and deliver adventure.
“She’d been born into an invisible cage, and these days, its bars were squeezing her tighter than ever.”
– Nora, The Frost Eater
You can’t go wrong with Nora. Our princess MC is flawed and human in the most accessible ways. What happens to her certainly isn’t normal, but the way she crashes, rises, wavers, and fights for what’s right, certainly is. We all have some of this character in our history. Be it her love of fancy clothes, or thinking of a boy’s shoulders during a critical battle. Nora knows what we are really like.
“He almost believed if he breathed in deeply enough, he’d hear the hushed voices of ancient people who’d huddled over these tomes.”
– Krey, The Stone Eater
Krey, my favourite from the start! Although points of view increase throughout the series, dipping in and out of Krey’s was the highlight for me. Strong willed, clever, intelligent, emotional, with just a touch of arrogance as his big red bow. I always wiggled a little deeper into my cushions when his mind was in the driving seat. This character is flawed—absolutely—but he makes it beautiful. His tragedies are stunning and bold, yet so very real to sit with. In Krey, Anderson has truly captured a sometimes misguided, passionate heart, ready to save the world.
“I don’t know exactly what’ll happen today, but I know this: we’re all going to see things we can’t explain.”
– Zeisha, The Vine Eater
It doesn’t seem to matter which type of soul you are, you’ll be found in these books. All walks of life, all corners of society. I won’t spoil them, but so many characters are heartwarming and ready to play their roles in simple, recognizable perfection. Anderson’s themes give teens a place to rest. To explore the ‘what should we do?’ of situations—hopefully—far beyond their own years. Beneath it all, we explore that the most savage betrayals can be dealt by the ones you hold dearest. Values shine within these words. Some which smack you right across the knuckles, others that we simply nod along with as right. Yes, that’s right. Do that!
I couldn’t help but enjoy every stage of this series and urge you to do the same. Young adults would devour the easy to digest flow, while the rest of us older kids try to think through our options and beat the characters to the punch. Regardless of age, we’re taken on a whirlwind adventure that never truly knows when to quit twisting! In the end, we’re as relieved as the characters are! Tears may be shed, memories made, contentment reached. Ah, to be young and save the world with dragons!
“Nora-human, imagine it. Two dragons, grown into young adults, huddled in a room too small for them. They could not help but touch at every moment. Each learned the deep strength of the other. It was a small step from knowledge to admiration. Do you not think at some point, they would tire of fighting?”
– Osmius, The Vine Eater
As for Anderson, her complexity and skill seems to grow with each instalment, and I cannot wait to see what adventure she crafts for us next!