Banned Review: The Dragon’s Playlist by Laura Bickle

“This is war,” the dragon said. And she believed him.

Di fled rural West Virginia to study music and pursue a bright future as a violinist. But when a mining accident nearly kills her father, she is summoned back home to support her family. Old ghosts and an old flame emerge from the past. When Di gets a job as a bookkeeper at the same mine where her father worked, she is drawn into a conflict pitting neighbor against neighbor as the mine plans an expansion to an untouched mountain.

If the mining company’s operation goes forward, there will be more at stake than livelihoods or the pollution of the land: Di has discovered a dragon lives deep within Sawtooth Mountain, and he is not happy with this encroachment upon his lair. When catastrophe strikes, Di must choose between her family’s best interests and protecting the dragon – the last surviving bit of magic in Di’s shrinking world.

In every fight, sides are chosen. And there can be no yearning for what has been left behind.

The Meta Details:
Source: Netgalley
Format: eBook
Length: 219 pages
Publication Date: June 1st, 2017
Genre: Fantasy
Content Level: Young Adult
Pearl Clutching Content: activists, protestors, cryptozoologists, lying mining corporations, and dragons who love music
Trigger Warnings: Violence, mining accidents, strained relationships with parents
Featuring: mother fucking dragon with a heart of gold, a violinist trying to find herself, a Wiccan come home to heal, an activist with a conscious (and a motorcycle), and a high school boyfriend who shouldn’t have been left behind.

Recommended for: everyone
Rating: must read

Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts: It’s rare that a book with dragons makes me take a good hard look at myself, and yet here we are. You see, my Northerner ass sitting in my comfy office job can make statements like “we need to close all the mines and shift jobs in those areas to renewable energy” but that doesn’t make it so.

It doesn’t move clean energy companies into those areas. (Despite there being two companies in my small town.) It does not put food on miners tables as they transition from one industry to the next. It doesn’t do shit for the people without a way to get out of the mines.

(I mean, I still feel the same way… that it’s essential we stop mining while creating new jobs in mining communities and new opportunities, but… well let’s move on.)

I had this idea that this novel would be a dragon romance. It is not. And I have never been happier that a book was not what I was expecting in my life.

Instead, it was a book that takes a hard look at families stuck in impossible situations. Of small town living. Of romance, friendship, and tragedy. It was brilliant. All the characters were well developed and interacted perfectly with each other. I could feel them as if they were in the room with me. That their story was unfolding around me.

And despite the fact that I grew up in the north and this book takes place in a coal mining town, I could feel how familiar the small town atmosphere was.

Add into that a seemingly impossible friendship with a dragon (that somehow feels totally plausible to the point where I’m wondering if there are dragons in our mountains) and you’ve got yourself a solid gold book.

It wasn’t overly uplifting, it wasn’t overly demoralizing (though there were definite emotional highs and lows). It just was. Unashamedly and without reserve. I didn’t know how much I needed that right now until I had it.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair and honest review via Netgalley.

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