To read an interview with M Pepper Langlinais, please see Issue 5 of Uncaged Book Reviews.

A December Top Read

Changes: Manifesting Destiny
M Pepper Langlinais
Fantasy/Paranormal/Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Cee has a hopeless crush on her best friend Marcus. Unfortunately for her, he’s gay. In the wake of Marcus’s older brother leaving home to join the Aerie, Marcus has become increasingly distant. When Cee discovers she has a troublesome dragon named Livian living inside her things grow even more complicated.

Marcus urges Cee to go to the Magi to have Livian removed, but the more Cee becomes attached to Livian, the more she questions the decision. Should she change her natural self for the crush who will never love her anyway?

 

Excerpt

Heat spread through her. Cee’s face elongated, her arms extended, her nails formed into claws, and her feet became suddenly very heavy. The bony spires erupted from her shoulders, and Cee was compelled to double over to allow the wings to grow.

Throughout, Cee fought the urge to resist, though her instinct was to do just that. She wondered what she looked like, caught a glimpse of red scales, and realized her eyesight had become sharper. All the details of the trees around her impressed themselves upon her brain: the cracks and flakes in the bark, the saw-tooth edges of the leaves, and every little spot and insect thereupon.

How big was she? Cee realized she was at eye level with the middle of the trees. She looked down and saw her friends pushing themselves even harder against the trunks, making way for Cee’s—or Livian’s, she supposed—tail as it snaked by.

Yes, we’re very pretty, said Livian impatiently. But we don’t have time for showing off just now.

The massive wings began to move, slowly at first, gathering speed that put the force of the helicopter’s artificial wind to shame. Cee realized she had no control over what was happening. It was all Livian, and she was housed inside him, somehow, along for the ride.

It was equal parts thrilling and petrifying, bursting through the treetops and being free of gravity. Cee would have liked to spend more time experiencing it, but there was the helicopter, like a massive black bug, and Livian went right for it.

Uncaged Review: A very original young adult story and a coming of age in a fantasy world. At times this book was too slow for me, but the conflict about growing up and friends growing apart is realistic in any world. In this fantasy world, kids are with their foster families, until their day that they will evolve and discover if they will be able to morph into an animal and will join their clan, or become one of those that never do. Best friends Cee and Marcus’ life is about to change dramatically, and this is where the book picks up a bit of speed.

Cee is a dragona, which was thought to be extinct, and the dragon that lives inside her, named Livian, is something that Cee is trying to deal with. In most animal clans, the person and the animal become one, but for dragona, the two different consciences share the body and can talk to each other. This takes a lot of getting used to for Cee. Marcus, who is destined to be a Magi (the leading rulers of the magical world) thinks that she can get rid of her dragon and live a normal life as one of the unevolved. But Cee’s not so sure she wants to part with her dragon.

At times the book was very slow and over-detailed, but the writing and editing is very well done. Where the story ended, didn’t really wrap-up anything, but it still ended without a true cliffhanger, which I appreciate. It’s easy to recommend this story to young adult/fantasy fans.
Reviewed by Cyrene

4 1/2 Stars