There seems to be only two genres for authors these days, characterized by Twilight and Harry Potter. There are no vampires in this book but it does have similar angst to Twilight amongst its teen characters, only at a younger level. In the vein of Harry Potter, this book is similar in that a teen has to deal with not only complications in maturity but also a mystical element. This book has more of a balance of fantasy to reality seen in the Percy Jackson books, the real world affected by, in this case, dragons.
Make no mistake, this book stands on its own in being fresh and original. The very likable teens and their academy instructors have depth, defining moments, and growth. I found myself really feeling for them, wanting to intervene, as they made some poor choices. The environment is detailed yet comfortable with just enough quirks to make it believable that dragons could exist in our reality. At no time did I feel I knew what would happen, there were many directions the story could take, and I look forward to seeing where this, (hopefully), series will go.
Five paws (out of five)