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Wonderfully imagined

Cover of Dragonfruit
A review of Dragonfruit by Makiia Lucier

Makiia Lucier wowed me a few years ago with a book I've re-read many times. Her Year of the Reaper  was set in a fully realized fantasy world and featured a flawed, but honorable, protagonist facing impossible choices with much grace and compassion. Since reading it, I've been eagerly waiting for Lucier's next. And here it is. A magical adventure that combines compassionate characters, a vivid tropical setting reminiscent of our world's Pacific islands, with unique magic (including fiercely lovable sentient animal tattoos), and a high-stakes story that switches easily between land and sea.

In this romantic fantasy Hanalei of Tamarind is the orphaned daughter of an old island family. Years ago she and Princess Oliana both ingested poison and each fell into a coma. Oliana's mother, the Queen, found the only cure possible, a seadragon egg. These eggs, or "dragonfruit" hold the power to undo a person's greatest sorrow and the Queen meant it for Oliana. But Hanalei's father stole the egg and instead used it's magic to save her. All magic has a price and Hanalei and her family have paid theirs over the years. Now she researches the dragons who saved her and hopes to find another egg to rectify the wrong her father did. The challenge isn't only in finding another seadragon's egg, it's in doing so first against a host of others on the same quest for darker and greedier reasons.

Though there is much grace and kindness to be found here, Lucier doesn't shy away from darker themes and complex characterizations. And I love that. I also loved Hanalei, the well-drawn cast of characters, and the wonderfully imagined world she lives in (did you note the inclusion of sentient animal tattoos?). Another winner from Makiia Lucier.

Mar 19, 2024