Review – House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Jessica Cluess - House of Dragons cropped for featured image
House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Book Title: House of Dragons

Book Description: Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call.... THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death. THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again. THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game. THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free--he must take what he wants. THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

Book Author: Jessica Cluess

Book Edition: 1st

Book Format: Hardcover

Publisher - Orgnization: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publisher Logo:

Date published: 2020-05-12

Number Of Pages: 448

  • Writing - 7.5/10
  • Plot Development - 7.5/10
  • Overall - 7.5/10
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House of Dragons is a YA fantasy for a person who wants a book like The Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones Jr, but don’t want to drown in grimdark.


House of Dragons

House of Dragons is a YA epic fantasy novel written by Jessica Cluess. 

Etrusia has a fairly non-traditional monarchy. When the emperor dies, the dragons of their five possible successors (and the successors themselves) are Called to a location where they will begin to undergo four trials. Obviously, whoever does the best in this series of challenges will ascend to the throne. The four potential successors who fail will be killed, along with their dragons. 

Jessica Cluess - House of Dragons
Jessica Cluess – House of Dragons

Usually, the selected successors are the oldest children of the five great houses. That, somewhat unsurprisingly, is not true in this book. Instead, the five successors are not expecting what happens when the dragons are Called. Now, the least likely successors must contend (in a competition they didn’t prepare for) for the throne to save their lives. 

Is House of Dragons What You’re Looking for Right Now? 

As you might be able to discern from the description, this book is like Game of Thrones for teens was mixed in a lab with The Hunger Games. The former incorporates dramatic political intrigue and dragons, the latter incorporates potentially hazardous challenges. However, people who remember both of those franchises may be concerned about the level of grimdark this book contains in These Times.

Considering [gestures around] everything, the tone of books is an important note. Unlike both Game of Thrones and The Hunger GamesHouse of Dragons has an optimistic bent. A majority of our point-of-view characters believe that things don’t have to be this way, and try to make choices that benefit people other than themselves. Even though they live in a country with widespread issues, it seems like they’d make the situation better, given power. Dark things happen, but they don’t carry the tone.

Conclusion: House of Dragons May Help You Escape Your Reading Slump

A lot of people have had difficulty reading during this pandemic. I’m not going to promise that House of Dragons will get you out of whatever slump you’re in. For one thing, (please don’t get mad) I haven’t really noticed myself having an out-of-the-ordinary slump. It’s also important to point out that the plural of anecdote is not data. Just because something worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. I will say that I found this book very hard to put down, and only managed to do so due to other obligations. People who have been suffering reading slumps have said that reading books for younger readers has relieved the slump. House of Dragons is a very readable and enjoyable book for Young Adults, and that might just be perfect for you right now.

If you’re considering buying this book, please remember local stores. While you may not have a store local to you, many people’s local stores are shipping around the country. Here is a list someone compiled regarding open bookstores. If you can’t decide between bookstores, you can buy from Barnes and Noble (important to the book market, even if it is a franchise) or from

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About the author

Siobhan Dempsey

Siobhan needs books to function, and therefore can infodump quite a lot about them, particularly when they're either science fiction or fantasy.

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