by M. L. Spencer
Aram Raythe has the power to challenge the gods. He just doesn’t know it yet.
Aram thinks he’s nothing but a misfit from a small fishing village in a dark corner of the world. As far as Aram knows, he has nothing, with hardly a possession to his name other than a desire to make friends and be accepted by those around him, which is something he’s never known.
But Aram is more. Much, much more.
Unknown to him, Aram bears within him a gift so old and rare that many people would kill him for it, and there are others who would twist him to use for their own sinister purposes. These magics are so potent that Aram earns a place at an academy for warrior mages training to earn for themselves the greatest place of honor among the armies of men: dragon riders.
Aram will have to fight for respect by becoming not just a dragon rider, but a Champion, the caliber of mage that hasn’t existed in the world for hundreds of years. And the land needs a Champion. Because when a dark god out of ancient myth arises to threaten the world of magic, it is Aram the world will turn to in its hour of need.
The main character and hero, Aram, is neuroatypical. (I had to look that up, because he’s never labeled as that, but he likes to keep his food totally separated and he takes people literally. And he’s obsessed with knots.) It was interesting seeing the world from inside his head. On the other hand he is one of the weakest heroes I’ve ever seen, suffering from crushing insecurity, self-doubt, and lack of self-confidence. Not without cause! Still, the early parts of the book were painful reading because of that. I almost dropped it for that reason.
I’m beginning to tire of coming-of-age stories. Maybe because I’m old? Don’t mature people get to do interesting things? Anyway, this one felt different for starting with younger children and carrying them through to adulthood. And there were tough older characters. And it has its own take on dragons. I will look for future books in the series.