Choke is written by Obert Skye. It was published in 2010 by Shadow Mountain. It is the second book in the Pillage trilogy (my review of the first book, Pillage, can be found here). Skye’s website can be found here.
“Beck Phillips has spent his time since the dragon pillage of Kingsplot inflating a huge weather balloon inside a tiny building, exploring all the forbidden rooms in the manor, and showing his natural propensity to act first and think later.
But, he is a Pillage and dragons are part of his heritage. Try as he might, he can’t ignore their obvious lure. Confronted with conflicting stories from adults who claim to know what’s best for him, Beck retrieves the last dragon egg in existence and takes it to a mountainside cave to hatch.
Kate should be jealous when Beck becomes too attached to the dragon queen Lizzy, yet she too is irresistibly drawn in. When Lizzy starts her own rampage, Beck realizes he can’t let the devastation happen again. Will he, once and for all, be able to change the course of events his family curse has destined for him?”
What I Liked:
I knew that if there was a sequel to Pillage that it would involve the stone that Beck threw away. Of course, it was blindingly obvious…it’s really too bad, because the first book is a great stand-alone and ends on a high note. This book does not. But then again, isn’t that the Trilogy Formula (FSASCH!)?
Contrary to what I said about the first book, I like the fact that these books are not very How To Train Your Dragon-ish and that the dragons are always a threat. I mean, I love taming-dragons stories, but let’s be honest here…if dragons were real, they would probably act a lot like the ones in these books.
I can see glimmers of Beck starting to develop, which helps me get through his utter stupidity. He’s also still just as wise-cracking as ever, which is, on occasion, pretty funny.
What I Didn’t Like:
Beck annoyed me throughout the entire book. I mean, he’s sixteen and he’s acting like he’s ten. He’s also the Wise-Cracking Boy Hero, and I’m actually starting to get a little tired of that trope, which might be why he annoyed me so much. Kate is an extremely flat character and Wyatt might as well not even exist for all the benefit he gives as a character.
The revelation at the end comes out of nowhere. There is no prior set-up to it, no foreshadowing (that I caught). Skye set up Van as the (obvious) antagonist more effectively than he did with Whitey. When it’s not really well-integrated and interwoven into the plot of the book, it just smacks of machination and clumsiness, at least in my opinion. It was like Skye decided to do it last minute just to give Beck some more trouble.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fantasy, Realistic, Young Adult
“In seven days it will be too late and that stone will hatch, regardless of where you have put it.”
“Listen,” he interrupted. “It will produce a queen. And you must tend it or it’ll be a perverted mess of a dragon with a mind of its own and no way to stop it.”
“That’s not true.”
“Yes, I’m afraid it is,” he said, his chin quivered in the candlelight. “You’re the only one who can hatch it and destroy it.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“You have the book,” he insisted.
“The Grim Knot?”
“I’ve already read it,” I informed him.
“I’ve heard there’s more to it than words.”
“I don’t even…”
“Stop,” he snapped. “You have started the ending by bringing those dragons to life, but now you have to finish it. You must plant it within seven days or she will destroy everything.”
“The queen,” he growled impatiently. “Find the stone, nurture it as it grows, and then destroy her when she is born.”
Lizzy grumbled, and I scratched harder. I looked around the cavern and saw that three of the barrels had been knocked over and were broken open.
“So, you just ate the whole time I was gone?”
She opened her mouth, and I could see her long purple tongue. It flicked out and then curled back in. Like the rest of her, her teeth had increased in size. I made a mental note never to stick my hand in her mouth.
Lizzy lifted her head and nudged me under the chin.
“You’re like a big dog,” I told her while patting her on the side of her long neck. “Making me pet you—the other dragons never did that. Of course, they didn’t grow as fast either.”
Choke follows in the same vein as Pillage, and it’s a fun read—but I’m getting a bit tired of fun reads that have no depth to them. I couldn’t stand Beck in this book and none of the other characters are well-developed enough for me to even begin to like them. The revelation at the end was too abrupt, and overall it smacked of Trilogy Formula all over. But, still, props where props is due: Choke is entertaining and occasionally even funny. Good for younger readers, but not for me.
You can buy this book here: Choke (Pillage Trilogy)
Coming Up Next: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor