Draykon by Charlotte E. English
Overall Rating: ★★★★★
Draykon revolves around Llandry, a painfully shy jeweler (with wings!) who discovers a stunning new gemstone. Dark indigo with silvery luminescence that only shines in the darkness, 'istore' causes an uproar when Llandry brings it to market. In fact, the furor rapidly causes prices to skyrocket and people to lose their senses over it, leaving Llandry barricaded inside her house to avoid the mobs. When a rash of robberies turns bloody, though, and istore owners begin turning up horribly murdered and stripped of their jewels, questions arise as to the origin of the stone and the identity of the person who wants it badly enough to kill.
The writing in this book is excellent; it was a pleasurable and absorbing read from cover to cover. I cannot recall a single instance where a flaw in the writing disturbed my immersion in the novel, and what more can you ask than that?
The characters are layered and three dimensional: the author wasn't afraid to create believably flawed people with multiple - sometimes conflicting - motivations, which lends an air of reality to their struggles. Not all the problems in the story are caused by the mysterious villian, some are caused by their own mistakes. In addition, the fantasy elements of the story were incorporated seamlessly into the characters, without being the single factor that defined them.
I don't have a separate rating category for the setting of a book, but in Draykon the world serves as an important additional character. As well as being incredibly creative, the structure of the Seven Realms moves the plot in ways that even by the end of the book are not completely comprehensible.
The plot is the only area where I felt I needed to deduct a star, and I'll explain why. Because this book is part one of a series, there are a great many loose ends. That's understandable. However, I believe that any book in a series should be able to stand alone, even if it's clear that the larger story arc is incomplete without the sequels. Draykon, on the other hand, will leave you dangling quite badly, and suffering from an urge to rush out and purchase the next installment. (That's right: the second and third books are completed and available, but only to buy.)
I definitely do not begrudge a skilled author a desire to make money off of her hard work, and as you can see, I've still given the book five stars. So, as long as you don't mind being left to dangle (or are in the market for a new series and have no objection to paying for engaging, high-quality writing) I can recommend Draykon as an excellent choice.
(Give it a read here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/884043-draykon-book-one-of-the-draykon-series)