Review: Alliana, Girl of Dragons

Title: Alliana, Girl of Dragons
Author: Julie Abe
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 2, 2022
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Once upon a time, Alliana believed in dreams and fairy tales as sweet as spun-sugar clouds. Alliana wished on shooting stars, sure that someday she and her grandmother would be able to travel to the capital city to see the queen. Then her grandmother passed away—and those dreams disappeared in a disenchanted puff.

Now Alliana’s forced to attend to the whims of her wicked stepmother—with long days of cleaning her stepfamily’s inn as her skin burns raw or staying up until the crack of dawn to embroider her stepsister’s ball gowns. Until she meets two beings who change her life forever—the first is a young nightdragon who Alliana discovers she can magically talk to. And the second is Nela, a young witch.

Nela needs Alliana’s help navigating the mysterious abyss, filled with dangerous beasts, a place Alliana knows by heart. Alliana sees Nela’s request as a chance to break free of her stepmother’s shadow and to seize a chance at a life she’s barely dared to hope for—but there’s a risk. If caught, Alliana will be stuck working for her stepmother for the rest of her life. Can Alliana truly make wisps of dreams into her own, better-than-a-fairy-tale happily ever after?

Inspired by the Japanese Cinderella story and set in the same world as the Eva Evergreen series, this story can be read as a standalone.


Alliana dreams of going to the Royal Academy and meeting the Queen. When her grandmother passes away, Alliana is left with her stepmother and step siblings, who make her do all the dirty work at their inn. Then, Alliana meets two friends. One is a dragon named Kabo, who Alliana saves from battling dragons. The other is a witch named Nela, who wants to help Alliana escape from her stepmother. Alliana must find a way to break free from the prison get stepmother has created. 

I really enjoyed this Cinderella story. I liked that Alliana’s goal wasn’t to marry a Prince, like in many Cinderella stories. She wanted to follow her dream of going to the Royal Academy for herself. She didn’t want to rely on anyone else because the people closest to her didn’t treat her well. This is an inspiring message for middle grade readers!

Alliana, Girl of Dragons is a great Cinderella story. 

Thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of this book!

What to read next:

Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe

Have you read Alliana, Girl of Dragons? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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