Cover Image: Blazewrath Games

Blazewrath Games

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Member Reviews

After reading only three chapters, I already felt so invested in this book and it felt like such a fresh, original story. I couldn't predict where it was going at all. And this rings true for the rest of the book as well - it's such a refreshing read in that sense. Because while I love YA fantasy, I feel like it gets predictable and formulaic at times, and this wasn't at all. 

Another reason why it was a breath of fresh air is that this book didn't have a main romance. While I love reading romance, it's a shame to see that almost all YA books focus on romance, and it's delightful to read a book that focuses on dragons instead. I feel like, even though the book doesn't have aspec rep, it will appeal to people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums for that reason! As well as just everyone who sometimes isn't in the mood to read about romance.

But let's get into the book itself. Honestly, it was so full of unexpected twists and turns, backed up by amazing world building and a super interesting magic system, that I feel like you should preferably go in without knowing too much about it. It's about a Puerto Rican-American girl who's always been a massive fan of Blazewrath, a dragon sport, and she wants to compete in the world cup. I loved how international this book was and how much diversity it had: there's so many nationalities and ethnicities featured, and there are several LGBTQ+ side characters as well as a disabled character who's in a wheelchair. I don't really want to tell you anymore about the story, because you should really experience it for yourself, but I can't recommend this book enough!
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Lana Torres dreams of nothing more than competing in the Blazewrath World Cup as a Runner for her native country, Puerto Rico. So when the opportunity presents itself, she is incredibly eager to sign her name on the dotted line, but both her parents seem skeptical of the circumstances. Nevertheless, Lana is whisked away to Dubai to train so that she can bring home the trophy for her teammates, herself, and her country. But while she’s there, Lana is roped into a game far more dangerous to play, and she begins to think there is more at stake to lose than just gold. 

All I needed to know before going into this book was that it involved dragons, and it did not disappoint. Each represented country has its own species, equipped with their own capabilities to give them an edge in the games, and there are plenty more species that are un-bonded and kept in sanctuaries under the watchful eyes of people like Lana’s father. Before each chapter there are snippets from history books or interviews with characters to give more insight into the world, which added a lot to the story, in my opinion. I thought the concept of the game of Blazewrath was unique and interesting, and definitely wish we could’ve been better acquainted with all the positions (but since Lana’s perspective moved the story forward, it made logical sense to focus mainly on the Runner). Each player and coach (and even the Sol de Noche dragons) had their own unique personality and quirks that made their actions and responses believable, and it was great to see players who did not see eye to eye rise above their differences and reach an understanding towards the end of the novel. I appreciated how a romantic relationship did not develop between Lana and Andrew, as I thought their friendship made the climatic action even more heartbreaking. The twists revealed in the latter portion of the novel also took me by surprise (in a good way), and during a second read-through I was able to pick up on a few clues I had previously missed.

There were some aspects I would have liked to see more of, one in particular being the relationship between Lana and her mother, Leslie. At the beginning of the story, it’s understood that Leslie is not a fan of dragons, and Lana is convinced that she would not support her decision to tryout for the Runner position (which is confirmed when she eventually finds out about Lana’s plan). After she signs Lana’s contract, she asks to be transported away, and Lana does not see her mother or have a legitimate conversation with her until after the climatic action, when we see she’s had a change of heart. I wish we could have seen some of that growth on the page. I also didn’t fully understand the purpose of Todd as a character, and particularly his interview at the end of the book. He’s on a talk show, essentially calling for the highest wizard class (Gold Wands) to eradicate all dragons, bonded or otherwise, saying that people need to wake up and realize the truth. I mean, unless there’s going to be a sequel in which Todd becomes the villain (which I would read in a heartbeat, honestly), that scene really confused me. 

Overall, I thought the messages in Blazewrath Games were great – it touches on realizing your worth is more than just the weight of your accomplishments, what it feels like to have family members who may not support what you do, and what it means to be proud of your heritage. This contemporary fantasy, in all its dragon glory, stole a little piece of my heart, and I can’t wait to see what other people think when it’s released in October. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher, Page Street Kids, for the copy, all thoughts and feelings are my own.
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Love the worldbuilding, the diverse characters, the wizards, and of course the dragons.  This is a very entertaining read that would appeal to younger teens.
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Blazewrath is aptly named! The title of this book hints at the fiery dragons within and these awesome creatures are given pride of place in the story. The dragons hail from different regions and Bond with their riders for life. The protagonist Lana Torres, who hails from Puerto Rico, unexpectedly gains the honour of competing in the Blazewrath World Cup. Lana is full of heart and determination, which, together with her smarts, makes her an unstoppable force. Formidable antagonists add suspense and surprise. The plot did at times feel a bit convoluted, and the pall that hung over the tournament in the latter part of the book took a little away from my enjoyment of it. However, these were minor quibbles. With friendships, magic, plenty of world building and tons of dragons, Blazewrath is both an entertaining and absorbing read, one that should especially appeal to younger teens.
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Thanks Netgalley for the chance to read Ortiz's Blazewrath Games, which I give a solid 4/5 stars. I knew I had to read this one as soon as I heard it combined dragons and wizards. Given the popularity of both, it surprises me  I can't think of another YA fantasy where both elements have played equally integral parts of the story. 

I did find the beginning of Blazewrath a little on the slow side, but with a book this original and inventive, it makes sense that a fair bit of worldbuilding has to be laid down first before things can kick into high gear.  But kick into high gear it does, once Lana becomes both the Runner for Team Puerto Rico as well as a target of the diabolical dragon-in-human-form Sire.

In the end, this was an entertaining read and I look forward to seeing where Lana's adventures take her. One request though, even more dragons next time, please!
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Dragons, dragons, we got DRAGONS HERE. Oh, not only do we have dragons, we have Latinx protagonists and a contest and a betrayal and holy eff, I am winded. This book was filled to the brim with epic st that I actually went to bed early every night just so I could power on my kindle and continue.

Do you want to hear more?

Thank you Netgalley and Page Street for the e-arc.

Lana Torres has dreamed of competing in the Blazewrath World Cup since before she could speak. When her chance to interview for the Puerto-Rican team comes, a surprise accident rocks her world. But that doesn't mean her dreams have come to an end. Chance has it, she's invited to join the team and starts training for the epic games. She soon finds herself involved in a diabolical plan by the Sire, a dragon cursed into human form who broke its bond to its rider and plans to end the games by attacking dragon sanctuaries around the world.

Do you want to know what I loved most about this story? I loved that Lana is not one of the ones bonded to a dragon. She doesn't spend the book with a dragon by her side, she's not a special snowflake. She's just a regular girl who wants to be a Runner in the games. And she works darn hard for it. She's honest, flawed yet strong. Shes; cautious in her relationships and emotional when the time arises. She's a spectacular heroine if I ever saw one. The supporting characters were also really good. They were not flat and they stood out on their own, especially Lana's witch friend, Samira.

The plot is paced at lightning speed with enough plot twists to keep any reader engaged. The games themselves stood out like some old gameshow on Nickolodeon, which I loved and yes, I'm old and I remember when kids' television was good. You can't tell me you didn't like it when those kids tried to scale the Aggro Crag in GUTS. That part of the show was awesome.

I digress, it was so nice to be in a magical world like this. I haven't felt so engrossed in a world since Harry Potter and this book does give it a slight nod. That's okay. A nod toward one of my favorite series all you want and I will buy your books. JS.

Anyhow, I did wish there were more moments with the dragons. I liked that Lana was not a rider, but I did yearn for some tender moments since she does love dragons as a species. I'm thinking we might get a deeper glimpse into that if there's a book two.

In closing, this was the most fun I've had reading a book this year. Give it a go if you love dragons and magical stuff because this book has it.

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An absolutely incredible story! Fast-paced with detailed and amazing world-building, Ortiz presents a book that is perfect for YA readers looking for a story that doesn’t center on romance but still accurately portrays the struggles and emotions of the Target age. This title will also appeal to fans of other books which feature magical sports. Highly recommended!
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Lana Torres has long loved the Blazewrath Games, an international tournament that involves, essentially, quidditch with dragons which is followed up by someone doing their best on the Global Guts Aggro Crag.  So, when she saves a store from a rogue Fire Drake and is recruited for the Puerto Rico team, she's ecstatic.  But she soon realizes that she's just a pawn for Sire, a human that was formerly a dragon who is not afraid to kill-torture-maim to get what he wants.

When I read that this book featured loads of representation and a tournament involving dragons, I was like SIGN ME UP!  And you know, those aspects were great.  The different types of dragons and their respective powers were quite creative.  The game, though it needed about 99% more dragon action - there is waaaaaaaaaaaay too much focus on this one random human running a toy up to the top of a mountain (hence the previous Aggro Crag comparison) - was pretty cool.  The representation was fantastic.  The tournament is international, so there are characters from all over the world, and there are many queer characters.   Unfortunately, the characters were very one-dimensional, the plot was saggy in the middle and extremely predictable, and the writing left something to be desired.   Ultimately, it wasn't my favorite.  

As it has some cool elements but is burdened by occasionally clunky writing and a predictable plot, this would be a better read for younger teens who just can't get enough of dragons, tournaments or both.  It wasn't for me, but I'll definitely recommend it to burgeoning YA fantasy readers.  2 stars - it was ok.  

Thanks to Page Street Kids and Netgalley for the eARC, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review.  Blazewrath Games will be available on 06 October.
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Hello Gemmies! I have an exciting book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review. 

Blazewrath Games is a new contemporary YA fantasy by Amparo Ortiz. This story is so creative and new, it felt like a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Let me start with the dragons because they are incredible! I never knew I needed a Puerto Rican Dragon in my life, but now I want nothing more than my very own Sol de Noche. Amparo Ortiz has created a complex magical system complete with a vast array of witches and Dragons that have their own powers and magical abilities. But wait, there's more! This is also an extremely well written character driven story with a diverse cast of characters that I found to be complex, dynamic, and completely relatable. The world building is so vivid you find yourself immediately becoming immersed in the story. There are themes of friendship, betrayal, patriotism, sisterhood, competition, bravery, sacrifice, and the courage to live your truth. 

If you are a fan of magic and mayhem, fierce dragons, conspiracies, witchy BFF's, and a kick ass heroine then go read this book! This gem published by Page Street Kids is set to release on October 6, 2020 and is available for pre-order from all major booksellers. I give Blazewrath Games 4 out of 5 gems. I cannot wait for this story to be out in the world for all to read and hope to see more books set in this universe. Happy Reading!
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Three out of Five Stars:

I see other people enjoyed this, and hopefully more people will when the book is released, but sadly I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. It could be a personal preference, so please don’t let this review discourage anyone from reading this book! There’s a lot of positives going for it like diversity, worldbuilding, and the dragons, especially the dragons! Amparo Ortiz put so much heart into creating these dragons, and you could feel her immense love for them through the story. There is so much creativity and thought put into the different breeds of dragons and their magic. These bad boys could teleport, create rings of fire with their siblings, and access this other dimension known as the Island. They sing when they're grieving, have psychic connections with their riders, and some are born with crystal hearts, which grant any wish to anyone who steals the heart. I applaud the author for her beautiful dragons! Alas, I couldn’t say the same for the characters, plot, and pacing. I really wanted to like Lana, but she was incredibly hard to connect with. She lacks depth, her POV isn’t deep enough for some of the things that happened in the book. Perhaps, she’s meant to be emotionally distant but I really couldn’t tell since her actions seem to be emotionally driven but her POV is not. She loves Blazewrath, Puerto Rico, and her dad, and that’s all I really got from her. The other characters didn’t fare much better, except for two, Andrew Galloway and Takeshi Endo. I honestly wished this story had been told from their perspectives since the entire plot centered around these two individuals. Takeshi becomes an undercover bureau agent (this world’s magical police), then infiltrates the Dragon Knights (a cult-like group trying to serve the Sire, who was once a dragon and became a human). The Dragon Knights murdered his dragon, Hikaru, so Takeshi does these things for vengeance. Andrew was his former best friend trying to protest the game of Blazewrath because of Hikaru’s murder. Another thing I noticed was that there were too many characters. By the time the final act came, I was trying to remember who was who. It seemed like a whirlwind of names, which interfered with my enjoyment of the action. 

Before I end this review, I want to point out the creativity behind the Blazewrath game was phenomenal! The blurb has it right with the comparison to quidditch! I only wish the game served a bigger purpose than the summary suggests. By the end, the game is easily dismantled after being active for twenty-something years due to the last five years being nefariously controlled by the Sire, something I realistically think wouldn’t happen due to the amount of money poured/made from these games. Protests would probably occur, along with corporations probably buying ownership before it was dismantled to keep their money wheel rolling.  

*Thank you NetGalley and PageStreet Publishing for sending me the ARC!
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A fantastic debut! BLAZEWRATH GAMES tells the story of Lana Torres, a teen girl living in the Puerto Rican diaspora, who gets to realize her dream of representing Puerto Rico in its first appearance at the Blazewrath World Cup. Competing against the world's best athletes (and their dragons!) without her parents' approval would be hard enough if she didn't have to deal with saving the world from a dragon gone rogue. Full of heart and humor, BLAZEWRATH GAMES is impossible to put down until the world and its dragons are safe.
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Blazewrath Games was a delightful read.  It incorporates magic and fantasy into a contemporary world similar to Harry Potter.  The twist here is that while the Wizarding World of the Potter-verse remains secret to Muggles, the Regulars (equivalent to Muggles in Ortiz's world) are aware of the existence of magic, and, more importantly, the dragons. Witch and wizard individuals and Regulars coexist in a relatively peaceful world.

Ortiz created a wonderful, beautifully crafted heroine in Lana Torres.  She was real enough to me that I would find myself both rooting for her in her most empowered moments and feeling frustrated with her for not standing up to a teammate berating her or her dreadful cousin. She is not the "Chosen One" trope, but rather a strong individual who loves dragons and the Blazewrath Games.  She feels pride for her Puerto Rican heritage yet still struggles with her distance from her island and wondering if she has the right to claim that identity.  Her inner struggles are beautifully illustrated and add a layer of depth to her character that boosts the narrative.  While I enjoyed Lana's character, I do have to admit that I found the other characters on the flat side.  Occasional sparks of development were found in Victoria and Andrew, but aside from them, I found Lana's team and other magical characters to be far less interesting and one-dimensional.  Even though Lana's mother was also under-developed, I found myself overjoyed with how she and Lana reconnect in the final pages of the novel.

In addition to Lana's strength as a character, something that made this novel so enjoyable was the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters.  Queer identity is not a struggle for the characters in this novel; these characters are fully accepted and not demonized.  As a queer woman myself, I found this to be a wonderful aspect of this novel. Latinx characters make up the primary cast, making this an essential addition to a library wishing to provide their readers with inclusive fantasy novels.

One thing I wish had been incorporated more was a world-building aspect.  The chapters all conclude with excerpts from magical texts that are part of Lana's world, but it was a little difficult to keep track of elements of the world.  I was desperate for a more solid structure. It did not get in the way of the narrative, but as a fantasy reader, it is something I crave in my books.

Something that frustrated me immensely while reading, though, was the dragons. The book is touted by publishers as a "How to Train Your Dragon" meets "Quidditch." Such a description is what drew me to this novel in the first place. It certainly meets the "Quidditch" mark.  However, "How to Train Your Dragon" is not the feeling I experienced, and that is probably what disappointed me most. I was expecting far more connection with dragons than was presented.  Yes, dragons are throughout the novel.  But when I think "How to Train Your Dragon," I expect a strong connection between the protagonist and dragon, as that is essential for Hiccup and Toothless' story. Dragons do not play a role in Lana's development.  She tells us she loves them, and the games, but I wished she would have spent more time with dragons. I did not necessarily desire Lana to be a rider, but if she'd spent more time with the dragons on her team or even included memories of her and her father that involve the love of dragons, I would have been much more satisfied.

Overall, Lana's story is a satisfying page-turner that will delight readers looking for a magical, inclusive novel desiring to read about a heroine representative of the everything we need in this current period of the world: a resilient, strong, Latinx girl fighting against injustice and to represent her country in a noble way. It's absolutely wonderful.
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Blazewrath Games is an epic read. A fantastically vivid world with a protagonist you cannot help but become attached to, This book has it all, gutwrenching in parts, funny in others, it doesn't shy away from tough subjects. It's a YA book you need to add to your to read list.
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3.5 stars

This is very exciting and fast-paced, but some aspects of the world-building left me confused. RTC near release date.
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I'll be honest.  I didn't have high hopes for this book, and it's nothing against this book itself but against the YA genre itself.  I once again have hope that YA isn't completely dull.

Lana is probably the best protagonist I've read in a while.  She's not a chosen one because of mystical abilities or superb skills.  It's not even a matter of "whoops this just happened" without making any sense.  Lana's character arc throughout this story is believable and real--as real as can be in a story with dragons.  I loved her from the beginning, and felt her to be a down-to-earth, relatable character.  She's also incredibly smart and spends a lot of time thinking and pondering over the actions of the villain and other characters.  She doesn't blindly rush into situations without planning ahead and figuring things out.

Samira is the best friend anyone could ever have, and even though she's more of a secondary character (kinda?  She takes a big role later in the book, but this is definitely Lana's story), she's got lots of spunk and sass and is a great asset to Lana's journey.  But even then she has her own journey and grows in this.  She's basically the best, OK.  I love her.

I really don't dislike a single character in this.  Everyone was well-written with unique voices and personalities.  I loved how the author interwove their culture into this story, so it's not just "another" fantasy.  It's a Puerto Rican-centric fantasy, something I've never seen before.  It takes place in our world, but the culture, language, and majority of the characters are Puerto Rican, and it's super refreshing to see something new in this genre.  I've rarely seen Latinex books, so this gives me hope we will see more in the future.

The plot is fastpaced and easy to follow.  I wouldn't say it's the most mysterious of books, but it's definitely got some great plot twists, and the story is solid enough that it doesn't need a shock-and-awe factor.  The sport of Blazewrath is super fleshed out, as is the world as a whole, and it makes sooooo much sense.  I would very happily watch a TV series based on this book and the sport simply because it's that fascinating.

This book doesn't shy away from tough plot points, and has some great gut wrenching moments.

Also, just the icing on the cake, again this is a POC Own Voices novel with ample LGBT+ rep, so there ya go.
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What an epic story!!!!!! What can I say about this story? The characters are amazing! Dynamic. Realistic. And relatable. The plot was absolutely amazing! My attention was held the entire time. Twists. Turns. Suspense. I love the entire story!!!! I was sad when I finished. Amparo has an amazing story!!!!
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"Dragons are better company than people. Not that I hate people."

Amparo Ortiz's dragon fantasy is complex, with textured world building, authentic relationships and a killer plot. Themes of death, loyalty, bravery, impossible choices, friendship, competition, patriotism and secrets make this book compelling and fun to read.
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If you're looking for all the energy of Harry Potter's  Quidditch World Cup, but set in an inclusive world with spellbinding dragons  and an MC who grabs hold of her life with both hands and shapes it for herself, this is the book for you!
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I grew up dreaming of unicorns and dragons. They were hands down my two favorite magical creatures, and though I never found books in Spanish about them when I was growing up in Puerto Rico, I was lucky to discover The Enchanted Forest Chronicles in my local volunteer-run library, Bucapla. It quickly became one of my favorite sets of books, and I still own copies at age 31. 
And they *are* good books. But how sad is it that they were my only option? 
All this to say that Amparo gave me something I never even dared hope for. A book (possibly a series? 😉) that not only described the most amazingly complex dragons I've ever read about, but was driven by a team of athletes who looked and sounded and dreamed like me.
I know I am just rambling over here and not giving a proper review, but I feel so seen I could cry. I loved The Enchanted Forest Chronicles as a kid and I still do. But Blazewrath Games has cemented itself as my new favorite dragon book not just because it's a great story, but because it's one brimming with love for the island that I have spent the majority of my life in.
Please pre-order this book, because all things aside it has:
🏆 A Very Competitive Dangerous Sport
🏆 Dragons With Extremely Cool Abilities 
🏆 Epic Battle Scenes 
🏆 Blurry Morals/Ethics
🏆 Loving Friendships 
🏆 Deep Patrotism
🏆 Magical Law & Order (!!!!!!!!!) 
🏆 Latinx & Queer Rep
¡Gracias, Amparo! No sabes el regalo que le has dado a mi pequeño corazón. Te quiero mucho. Is that weird? Ese es el poder de tus palabras.
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I think pitching a book as quidditch meets how to train your dragon is gutsy and sets the bar pretty high. And the potential was there. I was really interested in this idea of a game designed around dragons that was known about in the "normal" world. I really, really wanted to love this book as it has all sorts of things that I like. Unfortunately, this book suffered from a lack of clarity around world building and the beginning of the book happening incredibly quickly with a lot of info-dumping, little character building, and an overt amount of pop-culture references. I feel like had more time been spent on world building in the beginning, and the pacing in the beginning of the book had been a little slower or more focused, this book would have been stronger. If you are newer to YA fantasy and are not as focused on strong world building, you will probably really like this book.
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