Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The Great Texas Dragon Race by Kacy Ritter

The Great Texas Dragon Race by Kacy Ritter
Publisher:  Clarion Books
Format:  E-ARC via Netgalley
Number of pages: 400 pages 
Publishing:  August 1st, 2023 
Source:  Grace Fell from SparkPoint Studio

Opening Line:  "This could be the moment I die."

Thirteen-year-old Cassidy Drake lives on her family's dragon sanctuary with her dad and Gran, their ranch helps to rehabilitate dragons that have been injured by working for FireCorp.  Cassidy's primary goal has been to compete in the annual Great Texas Dragon Race, a weeklong event that combines high speed dragon racing across the desert with a scavenger hunt, it's more of a test of survival than an actual race.  It's also the race her mother was famous for having won, before she died.  Her family, the ranch and the dragons that they help protect are the most important things to Cassidy.  She would do anything for them, even entering the competition despite her dad's objection.  This year it's more important than ever, what with their sanctuary now in danger because of an increase in their annual fees levied against them, and Gran's recent hospitalization that has caused their debts to pile up.  If they can't get their hands on some cash fast, Michael Carne from FireCorps will take over their ranch and Cassidy risks having her dragons owned by him again.  A fate that she can't bear.  So, when Cassidy learns that this year's prize is worth two-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollars, there is no way she can refuse to race.  With a little help from Gran, Cassidy enters the competition where a set of grueling tasks awaits that will push her to her limits and beyond.  While the other dragons may tower over her and Ranga, Cassidy's dragon has speed and agility.  But it just might not be enough when the other competitors begin to play dirty, even going so far as to dope their dragons with steroids.  Can Cassidy stand up to the other competitors and win the race?  Well, you'll just have to read to find out.  

The Great Texas Dragon Race is one of those books that takes you completely by surprise, in such a good way.  The stakes are high for Cassidy not only does she have so much to prove to herself, but she also wants to protect her family.    She's kind of outnumbered and racing against bigger dragons and competitors who try to bully and intimidate her.  Competitors that have all the right equipment and who take every shortcut they can find.   I just love her spirit and drive to do better for her dragons and ranch.  Initially, she doesn't trust the other competitors, well some she shouldn't, but I really liked how she ends up opening up to them more and more.  Especially the relationships she ends up forming with Ash and Laura. Oh, and this race, I'm glad that they had to stop for rest stops, I needed the little breather between all the high paced action.  LOL Defiantly a high stakes race with lots of interesting tasks to complete and danger at every turn.  Just loved it. 

I also quite enjoyed this world that Ritter created and the mix of the Texas desert with dragons.  The sense of Cassidy's Texas morals, where there's expressions like "all hat and no cowboy," and "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." Somehow you think it's not going to work, but then you're getting all caught up in the story and finding yourself rooting for Cassidy too.  And dragons, who doesn't love racing dragons?  Which sounds fantastical and dangerous and so exciting.   The illustrations of the dragons at the front of the book were really handy, but I sure would've loved seeing them intermixed into the story.  Reading this you sense all the power, speed and beauty of the dragons, but to have the illustrations right with the text would have been perfect.  They can also be fierce and loyal, the comradery that is shared between rider and their dragon was so lovely to behold. 

Finally, I really enjoyed the messaging in the story.  How it's important not to make assumptions, and sometimes we need to try and put ourselves in someone else's shoes.  To see their perspective.  How it is "our choices that reveal our character" and sometimes we have to give up what we want in order to do the right thing.  To have courage and fight for the things that we believe in.  Just a fabulous story that is exciting, and fits this description, " Wings of Fire meets Hunger Games."  A debut not to be missed.   


  1. I've been really looking forward to this book because it's a fantasy set in Texas, where my late husband was from. I'm glad you liked it so much.

  2. I can't keep enough dragon books on the shelves ever since Wings of Fire!