REVIEW: The Dragons of Nibiru by Lorna J Carleton

The adopted daughter of a distinguished starship commander, young Celine is a brilliant student, a promising cadet – and a secret witch. When a psychotic criminal, bent on revenge against her father, teleports Celine randomly out into the cosmos, she finds herself stranded on the forbidden planet Nibiru, in the lair of Fianna – last princess of a dying race of noble dragons. Fianna and Celine face dire perils and overwhelming odds in their quest for the key to the Dragon race’s survival, and the lives of everyone Celine holds most dear.

Warnings: Threats of sexual assault, Mentions of rape, Internalized misogyny, Violence

Category: M/F

The Dragons of Nibiru is the first in a series of sci-fi fantasy novels that involve reincarnation, astral projection, and a secret planet of dragons only accessible via a mystical space vortex. There are currently, as of this review posting, four books out in this series, and they are nothing if not an absolutely wild ride.

WRITING
The writing in this is very simple in nature, and reads like it’s trying to be YA or even Children’s Lit. At times the very matter of fact prose made me feel like I was reading a picture book without the pictures (although the books do have some illustrations periodically), which is fine enough except that the content and subject matter is often quite adult in nature. There will be whole passages about how the villains are known for sexually assaulting children which feels like an extremely odd choice for this style of writing. The story is an absolute roller coaster ride with around 5 or more different plot threads all coming together in what is ultimately a bit of a mess, but a fun mess that I really enjoyed following. Celine is a young witch who has been trained by celestial beings alongside her boyfriend Jagger, and they are both prophesied heroes who will save the planet of the Dragons among other problems in the Galaxy. It’s ridiculous, but it’s charming, as are the occasional illustrations that are scattered throughout the books.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
As far as an emotional connection goes, the very ‘telling instead of showing’ style of writing does make it a bit hard to connect to the characters. When so many of their big emotional moments, or their growing relationships and connections to each other are glossed over with very point of fact prose it is difficult to really feel their emotions with them. Celine, and the narrative with her, can also suffer a lot from “not like the other girls” syndrome and I really rather disliked the way her airheaded sister is portrayed. Add to that that the dialogue can come across very wooden and stilted, with a very PSA quality to it, and it’s hard to feel like these could be real people. However, some of the most entertaining POV characters, I found, were actually the villains, who are so over the top cartoonishly evil and vile that you can’t help loving every time one of them chews up the scenery with their delusional viewpoints.

WORLDBUILDING
This is a setting that blends science fiction with fantasy- spaceships alongside dragons, magic spells and extra dimensional beings that act as spiritual guides, forced reincarnation and aliens stealing the bodies of humans, and souls drifting in space… if some of this sounds vaguely familiar, that is because it is, or some of it is at least, very Scientology. It definitely doesn’t advertise itself as a Scientology book, and tries to keep it subtle, but it’s there in the workings of its plot and setting structure. The villainous reptile aliens invoke the god Xenu, and want to steal human bodies to house their immortal souls within, and there are all sorts of astral projection that seems to function like the concept of Thetans, not to mention the constant barrage of positive thinking rhetoric. It’s clearly blended with some other New Age ideas, so it’s unclear if the author herself is a Scientologist or was simply inspired by the mythos and teachings of a few different practises including Scientology, but it was a fascinating reading experience because of it, having never before delved too much into such content.

STEAMINESS
While there is no sex in this book because, presumably, it’s meant to be a YA? Maybe? It does however include a shocking amount of casual, off the cuff references to sexual assault including the sexual assault of children. The villains are openly leering and lusty, and threaten the lead characters more than once with rape. All of this seems very odd for the type of book this is, and makes it more adult in nature than the prose would have you believe. On the other side of things, there is also of course the relationship between Celine and Jagger which never goes beyond hand holding and some chaste kisses given that they are both quite young in this story- which only makes it all the stranger how often they are under threat of sexual peril. A very bizarre series of books on this count. It would probably have felt a lot less odd to me if the leads were older and there was some positive sexual encounters to outweigh the sexual peril focused on but, here we are.

I really really enjoyed these books. They’re very silly, and a little rough around the edges, and I don’t really go in for New Age type stuff typically, but I found them absolutely fascinating and fun in a kind of wild, B-Movie sort of way. I will certainly be reading any further books that come out in this series!

Have you read The Dragons of Nibiru? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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