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3.5 

When Women Were Dragons

By Kelly Barnhill
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

A GOODREADS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR • A fiery feminist fantasy tale set in 1950s America where thousands of women have spontaneously transformed into dragons, exploding notions of a woman’s place in the world and expanding minds about accepting others for who they really are.
 
"Ferociously imagined…and as exhilarating as a ride on dragonback." —Lev Grossman, bestselling author of The Magicians Trilogy

"Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny." —Bonnie Garmus, bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry
 
In the first adult novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Ogress and The Orphans, Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of.
 
Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and 
watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small—their lives and their prospects—and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.

1000 Reviews

3.5
Expressionless Face“I picked this book up because I thought it was an interesting concept. The writing itself was beautifully structured but the pacing was horrible! I almost DNF’d this book a few times. I didn’t particularly think the main character was very engaging she just kind of felt like a means to tell the story. It was frustrating that the book was about women turning into dragons but it felt like it was never really discussed until the end of the book. I get that it was because dragoning is considered a taboo topic in the book but the plot itself was not engaging enough for this to be the case. I expected the feminist perspective but it lacked any intersectionality and at some point it just began to feel really repetitive. I am disappointed because I enjoy this authors work but this book really felt like a letdown.”
Beautifully writtenDescriptive writingThought-provokingMisogynyLack of diversityUnengaging charactersUnsatisfying endingUnsatisfying plot
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes
Believable charactersCharacters change and growDiverse charactersLikable charactersBeautifully writtenEasy to readOriginal writingFast-pacedImmersive settingThought-provoking
Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes“This book was so beautifully written. Barnhill does such a masterful job of building characters and relationships. While I didn't always agree with the thoughts, choices, and actions of Alex, I could see the perspective from her side and understood why she did or didn't do things. Barnhill really empowers women in this book in a time where they are just beginning to learn they even have power. She also illustrated beautifully the cycle of family relationships how some of us find ourselves becoming our mothers as we age and some of us take a different path learning from the mistakes of family members and trying to break the cycle. I really enjoyed the imagery of "dragoning" and how it truly revealed the nature of powerful women. This may be my favorite read of the year so far.”
Characters change and growMulti-layered charactersBeautifully writtenImmersive settingComing of age

About Kelly Barnhill

KELLY BARNHILL has written several middle grade novels, including New York Times bestsellers The Ogress and The Orphans and The Girl Who Drank the Moon, which won the 2017 John Newbery Medal. She is also the recipient of the World Fantasy Award, and has been a finalist for the SFWA Andre Norton Nebula Award and the PEN America Literary Award. She lives in Minneapolis with her family. 

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