With the demands of high school, peer pressure and the dating scene, being a teenager is difficult under the best of circumstances, when you are half beaststalker and half weredragon the situation becomes truly complicated. Beaststalkers are the sworn enemies of weredragons, the werachnids and weredragons have never gotten along and with folks turning up dead by an unseen hand tensions in the community are rising to a feverish level. If that isn’t trouble enough, Jennifer must continue beaststalker training with Elizabeth, her mom, learn dragon lore from her dad and due to taking pity on a girlfriend, undergo the Fifty Trials to prove her worth as the Ancient Furnace. Failure is not an option yet it’s difficult to study up when no one is quite sure exactly what comprises the Fifty Trials.
When Jennifer witnesses the fatal attack of her grandfather there is little doubt everyone living in Winoka is playing for keeps. As it comes to light that Jennifer has a half-brother, abandoned at birth, he naturally becomes the primary suspect yet there is more to the story then just abandonment issues. Winoka was rebuilt on the ashes of Pinegrove, a community of weredragons after it was destroyed by the beaststalkers. There are some in Winoka who know what Jennifer and her dad are and would kill them both but for the protection given by Elizabeth. Throw some werachnids into the mix and there are plenty of motives for murder and worse. Somehow, Jennifer must make all the antagonists realize they can get along before another massacre takes place.
This lighthearted young adult book has plenty of appeal for teen readers and fans of Mary Janice Davidson’s work with a regular laundry list of preternatural creatures. The usual teenage angst is present yet doesn’t take away from the strong storyline and humorous touches that are Davidson’s hallmark.