Title: Tracker and the Spy (Dragon Horse War Trilogy #2)
Author Name & Publisher: D. Jackson Leigh (Bold Strokes Books)
Publication Date & Length: February 16, 2016 – 240 pgs
The prickly and complex Captain Tanisha is reluctantly paired with Kyle, a powerful untried pyro, to track The Prophet to his new headquarters and infiltrate The Natural Order cult. When their mission is complicated by a lovesick dragon horse, Kyle’s relationship to the leader of the dangerous cult, and the discovery of hostages in the tower of the Golden Temple, their choices suddenly aren’t as simple as black or white, good or evil, trust or betrayal. Even the dragon horse warriors must learn to embrace the mantra they are defending—stronger together. Dragon Horse War, Book II
When I was a teenager, and yes, that was a very, very long time ago, I discovered swords and sorcery and fantastical beasts and epic quests. Throughout my teenage years and into my twenties, and yes, I’m still talking as though that was a long time ago because it was, I went on many journeys through magical lands with heroic companions. And then, I stopped reading fantasy books. I attributed this phenomenon to that horrid inevitability, ‘growing up.’ Or the worse option of ‘growing older.’ This book taught me that that young girl/woman, filled with awe and wonder at these tales, still lives inside of me. And the best part is that these new tales tell stories of people like me, that is, of women who love women. And that makes me so much more interested.
This book is the second in the series. I read it as a stand-alone, meaning I didn’t read the first book before I read this one. And it works well enough. Leigh sprinkles a lot of background info throughout the book so I know a lot of the general idea of what happened before. But I’m one of those OCD people who rereads a whole series when the author releases a new volume, so I’m definitely going to go back and pick up the first book for myself. This book is filled with strong characters, filled with purpose, hindered by flaws that make them human. Even the bad guys are human, even though you still get to hate them. The story kept me turning page after page, roaring like a dragon horse myself whenever I was interrupted. I liked the two characters, Tan and Kyle, that were the focus of this book. They drew me into their story and I kept rooting for Kyle’s perseverance to win out over Tan’s wary suspicions. I loved the whole idea of Kyle’s dragon horse and can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.
I will say two things that could be considered negative. Since this is a series, the book ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, with the bad guys making off with some of our good guys. I think I was just as infuriated as Furcho and Kyle were when they got away, but it does set up the basis for the struggle in the next book. I thought Maya’s prophecy was perfect. But I know a lot of people don’t like cliffhangers, myself included (I want the next book NOW!). The second thing is Jael. I never got a complete feeling of loss in the immediacy of the battle, or with Alyssa and Second’s scene after. Perhaps I just couldn’t believe that the author could be that cruel, unless she’s been taking lessons from George RR Martin. But I kind of expected the ending. Although I will say that I love the last two lines. Perfect. This is definitely a recommend from me, for anybody who loves fantasy.
D. Jackson Leigh grew up barefoot and happy, swimming in farm ponds and riding rude ponies in rural south Georgia. Her love of reading was nurtured early on by her grandmother, an English teacher who patiently taught her to work New York Times crossword puzzles in the daily paper, and by her mother who stretched the slim family budget to bring home grocery store copies of Trixie Belden mysteries and Bobbsey Twins adventures that Jackson would sit up all night reading.
It was her passion for writing led her quite accidentally to a career in journalism and, ultimately, North Carolina where she lives with her small pack of three terror, uh, terriers.