In the third (and fourth) part(s) of Within the Sanctuary of Wings, Isabella discovers just how much she doesn’t know about Draconeans – and has to decide what she’s going to do with what she does know…
Daaaamn, this book is going all out in the high stakes department – and I cannot get over just how much I love Isabella’s idea of high stakes. Also, I want to spend more time with the Draconeans. All the time. I want to stay in the Sanctuary forever and learn things from them.
So Isabella is stuck in the Sanctuary of Wings for an entire winter, and spends that time doing what she does, which is learning things about her hosts, their language and their origins. And their biology, which I admit I also found pretty fascinating.
But it’s their history that soon takes centre stage as the focus of Isabella’s curiosity, and I was really intrigued by the question not only of how the Draconeans came to exist, but of the exact nature of their historical relationship with humans. (Not to mention the question of how dragons fit into this evolutionary equation, but that’s possibly a bigger question, and not the most pressing one. Still, I’m really curious about it!)
The sisters Isabella learns from tell her of their belief that humans once lived in servitude to them, only to eventually turn on their masters, thus leading to the purge that nearly wiped Draconeans out. All of this is news to Isabella, though she takes it very seriously. Naturally.
Sadly, despite the lingering questions of how and why, this idea doesn’t surprise me. It does hit me in the gut, though, given the rather painfully relevant timing of my reading this… *Looks at the entire world right now*
But I’m not going to get bogged down in all that negativity; not here. Because Isabella could have gotten herself hung up on debating those points of history; instead she accepts the Draconeans’ side of it (*looks to camera*) and starts concerning herself with what she can do to prevent a repeat of history, if the Sanctuary is discovered after she leaves it. It’s a given that she’ll have to tell someone what happened to her, so to her credit Isabella focuses on the matter of damage control. She knows exactly what might happen if the rest of the world discovers the Sanctuary, and her goal is to minimize that damage if she can.
God damn, is there ever going to be anything I don’t love about this woman?! I mean, if anyone can handle this, surely it’s her? She’s foiled assassins, government plots and potential massacres before … On the other hand, it bears repeating that she’s never faced a challenge like this. This goes beyond politics or diplomatic relations – the discovery that Draconeans are not only real but still living will challenge a lot of deeply held religious beliefs, and I think we all know how well that usually goes for the ones doing the challenging.
Though even as I type that, I’m thinking it does Isabella’s dedication to her life’s work, and to protecting this discovery as best she can, a disservice. If it comes down to stopping any government doing something harmful to the Sanctuary or the Draconeans in it, I want to believe that she’ll find a way. Whether she does it by the end of this book, or by the end of her life, I believe she’ll do it.
And that’s becoming the question at this point, isn’t it? What Isabella is facing by the end of part 4 – and by the way, DAMN IT THAT WAS FAST – is her biggest challenge yet, and there’s every chance that the story contained in this book may not resolve it. Normally I would feel cheated by an unresolved ending like the one we might get, but here … It’s Isabella. We’ve come this far without me really finding anything to criticise about her narrative, that I can recall. I still don’t want the story to end, but if it satisfies me at all, I’ll call it a win.
And on that note, I honestly thought I’d be finished reading by this point! Turns out, there’s a Part Five. I GET A BIT MORE TIME WITH ISABELLA YAAAAAAY.
… What more can I say, at this point, than that?