The hype: The last book in this series, Pillage, left an opening for a sequel, and so we have Choke. The unique combination of a family gift for growing plants and a family curse of exploiting dragons to get gain makes for an intriguing combination. Add in a mysterious book to “explain” all of this and a teenage boy who can’t keep out of trouble and you’ve got a great recipe for action and adventure.
Tell me more: SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Pillage yet, then this review will spoil its ending. You have been warned. Beck Phillips is adjusting to his new home, newly discovered father, and his family heritage. Oddly, however, his gift with plants seems to be waning, and sometimes even turning against him. His gift for getting into trouble, however, is still strong and lands him in the hospital for an extended stay. While there, a mysterious stranger convinces Beck to find and plant the last dragon stone, in order to complete the cycle and finish the family curse. But when the stone hatches a beautiful and mesmerizing queen dragon, will Beck have the courage to destroy her? Will The Grim Knot even tell him how? Old friends and new foes, along with new discoveries in the Pillage mansion, work to guide or hinder Beck as he struggles again with his family’s mysterious heritage.
Content advisory: The action in this book is a bit more intense, and someone actually dies. Beck and other characters get seriously banged up, but nothing is graphically described. There’s little to no romantic content, aside from Beck remarking often about how infatuated he is with Kate. Coarse words, as in the first book, don’t exist, and there’s no drinking, smoking, or drug use.
Does this book end? Yes, but, like Pillage, there’s an opening for a sequel. Obert Sky calls this a “Pillogy”, so a third book may be coming…
Why you should read this: I was a little disappointed in the disparity in dragon lore between the dragons of Pillage and the queen dragon in Choke. The implied difference is, of course, that she’s a queen dragon, but that’s about it. Still, we get to see more of the mansion and its mysteries, and we see more of how Beck is growing up through his experiences. His relationships with others are strained because of his actions, and he must do his best to face the consequences of those actions. All in all, this is a satisfying book and a well-written sequel.
The bottom line: If you liked Pillage, then you’ll equally like Choke. As before, there’s room for a sequel (possibly the end of a trilogy?), so be ready for a possible third Pillage book.