Review: Scrapplings

Scrapplings

  • Author: Amelia Smith
  • ISBN: 9781941334065
  • Publisher: Split Rock Books

I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Darna is a servant who can see dragons and has dreams of going to Anamat.  When she finds out something that could ruin her plans, she runs away from Tiadun keep.  She befriends other “scrapplings” along the way and they discover that to survive in Anamat, they’ll have to beg, scavenge, and steal their way into enough beads to buy an apprenticeship.  Despite this rude awakening to a rough life involving street gangs and the risk of being thrown in jail, they all agree that it’s still better than where they came from.

The problem with this story is that nothing really happens.  At first it comes off as a sort of quest narrative, but after Darna and her new friends reach Anamat, the story meanders around seemingly with no point.  It eventually goes somewhere, but I began to get irritated with its lack of progress towards any kind of a climax or resolution at about the halfway mark.  It didn’t help that I absolutely despised one of the characters, Iola.  That would have been fine if she were one of the unsavory characters, but that wasn’t why I couldn’t stand her.  She wasn’t someone I loved to hate.  She was just so ridiculously naive and clueless about everything, and on top of that, her fanatical religious beliefs caused her to betray her friends.

One of the few elements that I enjoyed about this book is that the story is set in a very sexist world that also seems to treat its children as easily cast aside.  Unlike a couple other books I’ve read this year, though, the main character is a young girl who chooses to go against societal pressures to make her own way in the world and not just accept her “fate”.  The girls in this story have backgrounds and character traits and physical descriptions.  They’re not just decoration or plot points along the way.

Overall, I didn’t really like Scrapplings.  However, I didn’t hate it either.  I think it deserves a chance if you truly love Fantasy, especially Fantasy involving dragons, or if you’re tired of reading male-centric trope filled quest narratives.  This isn’t for you if you prefer fast(er) paced books, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is new to the Fantasy genre.