1. DRAGONS. And not just any dragons. These are vicious, terrifying dragons that drip poison from their fangs. These dragons tear apart people and goats in seconds. The danger is palpable and violence is vivid.
2. Shamers. The main character, Dina, is the daughter of the local Shamer. Both she and her mother possess the "gift" of Shaming - they can look someone in the eye and read their deepest secrets. The Shamer can use this skill to determine a person's guilt after a crime and to bring that person to their knees from debilitating shame.
In the novel, a murder has been committed and the Shamer is called upon to find the murderer. Ultimately, Dina finds herself caught up in a dangerous chess-match that threatens to trade her mother's life for political power.
Although the plot is somewhat predictable, I found the story fun to read with enjoyable pacing. I especially enjoyed the fact that the female protagonist intelligent, brave, and believable. I think most middle school readers will LOVE this book!
Appropriate for grades 7-10