Review – Given by Nandi Taylor

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title Given

Author Nandi Taylor

Release Date January 21, 2020

Description from Amazon

Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.

No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.

Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.

Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting an attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.

Initial Thoughts

This book sounded super interesting so when I read the description on NetGalley, I knew I wanted to apply. I also really enjoyed the last Wattpad published book I received from NetGalley so this seemed like a win-win.

Some Things I Liked

  • World building. I really liked the background information and descriptions of Yenni’s family and homeland. I was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get more of that, but I would definitely like to see more of that in sequels to this story.
  • Harry Potter vibes. I loved the elements of magic school and Yenni trying to adjust to the culture shock of everything new around her.
  • Enemies to lovers romance. One of my favorites. I was a little worried that Nandi Taylor might sneak a love triangle in here, but I was very pleased to find that trope missing. I thought the romance was nicely developed and I appreciated the timeline of events. YA stories often feature insta-love or some from of the main characters hating each other then a week later getting married. This story had a nice pace and the timeline made their story believable.

Some Things I Didn’t Like

  • I felt like the NetGalley description was not entirely accurate. Yes, Yenni goes on a journey and she meets a dragon, but I definitely wasn’t expecting magic school / Harry Potter vibes. I didn’t mind it at all, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.
  • Similarly, I was expecting the central plot to be more about Yenni’s homeland. I think if the description cited that this was one of a series, I’d have been more prepared for the turns the plot took and the ending.

Series Value

While the description did not mention this is a series, if it is, I’d continue with it. Is this a drop everything, the new book is out series? No, probably not. But, I’d definitely pick up a copy of any sequel to this story and read it at some point.

Cover Art

I haven’t featured this section in a while but I felt like it was definitely relevant to this title. I am not a fan of the cover art here. I felt like it made the book look too much like a graphic novel or a kid’s book. I think the art would be fine for promotional material, but I don’t think it does the book justice. I much prefer the more abstract art featured when this book was solely published on Wattpad.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. I would continue with the series and I think it has a lot of potential. I can easily see why it had so many reads on Wattpad.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – specifically, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I can’t just recommend one book in that series because what kind of lunatic would read a random book from the middle?? Anyway, this story gave me a ton of Harry Potter vibes from magic school to the culture shock that the main character experienced. If you liked this book, give the Harry Potter series a try.
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa – if you liked the shape-shifting dragon elements of this book, give this series by Julie Kagawa a try – you won’t be disappointed!
  • Beasts of the Frozen Sun by Jill Criswell – if you liked the enemies to lovers romance and the language elements of Given, give Jill Criswell’s series a try. Book two is coming out next year.

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