Probably 3.5 starsI related best to Aidan's character and point of view. Berg used first person throughout the novel, but would switch to alternate characters' point of views at pivotal plot points. Oddly, I did not relate well to the only female character, Lara, and in fact, skimmed through most of the center section of the book told from her eyes. I had hopes of another stunning story like the Lighthouse Duology, especially through the first third or half of Aidan's tale, yet the tale never quite touched me as deeply as Berg's later work. We learn of Aidan's early life as a musical prodigy and the horrid long senseless imprisonment and torture he survived only by essentially murdering his musical talent. Since our only reference is Aidan's experiences, we slowly learning his history and the history and current state of the world around him. Released from prison, possibly by mistake, Aidan picks up the pieces of his broken life only to be harried, hounded and hunted across the world until he's rescued by the Elhim, a strange race of people (sexless or asexual and very long lived). Aidan learns he is the hope of salvation and redemption for the Elhim, but rejects the offer and seeks solace for his soul in backbreaking labor, ending each day in exhaustion in the hope of dodging his nightmares. A faction within the Elhim led by Narim refuses to let Aidan rest. Goaded still further, Aidan leaves the Elhim sanctuary to live with Lara, an exiled Ridemark warrior woman desperate to return to her clan and fly a dragon. Her life long passion as a dragonrider was thwarted by an unspoken clan tradition against female flyers and resulted in her near death when she defied her clan and attempted to control a dragon without proper training or tools. The Ridemark clans, also known as the Twelve Families, enslaved the dragons five hundred years previously. With these weapons of mass destruction, the Twelve Families make kings flinch and nations beg for mercy. The world suffers under the yoke of their tyranny, veiled behind a facade of service contracts with rival nations, balancing power to maintain dominance. Narim plots and plans to redeem himself and his people. Lara assists him readily, for she owes her life to Narim. But Aidan seeks only peace and love and eventually freedom for all, starting with the dragons. Together and separately they twist and tangle and triumph in strange and glorious ways. Never underestimate the power of love or music.