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Cracked Open
Cracked Open

Cracked Open


4.10 (403 ratings)
Dragons, bonded mates, and irreversible decisions.After a car accident left my only parent – my father in the hospital, I was swept away to the Dragon Born Academy by my estranged grandmother.
If I had to be there, I’d be an observer of this place with its rituals and superstitions… After all, everyone’s made it clear I don’t belong.
But then it happened…and Ashe Carrick – my impossibly irresistible bond-mate happened.
Being Cracked Open changed everything… Who I thought I was, WHAT I thought I was…
The words alone bring to mind monsters and princesses in castles.
I am the princess and the monster they locked away. However, my story has no damsels in distress, waiting to be rescued.
It’s self-rescue time, and I’m done playing nice.

★★★★★ “the chemistry, the romance, the anger, the betrayal just wow!... in my top 5 reads!!”⁠– Goodreads reviewer⁠
★★★★★“Wonderfully written… impossible to put down.”⁠
– Goodreads reviewer⁠
★★★★★“Wow! Absolutely loved this book, cannot wait for the next in the series.”⁠
– Goodreads reviewer⁠
The Dragon Born Academy⁠Cracked OpenOver EasyHard BoiledFrying Night
Then check out the spinoff series:DragonbornCourt of Fire and AshesCourt of Stone and Dust



Wow! I really enjoyed this book!! I really like dragon books but most are to over the top to say the least but this one I truly enjoyed! I can’t wait to read the next one and see what happens.

Good Book

A great strat to new serie. I like the characters. A good twist on a dragon book.

Great Story

Dragons, Academies, betrayal….Oh My! This is not the same old formula, but instead it includes new elements of Dragondom, along with complex new characters. Can’t wait to read the second book.

Still Frustrating

Even though I enjoyed this book it was still beyond frustrating. The adults were complete nincompoops. The heroine was left the in dark until the end of the story (even at the end we still know barely anything for a fact). She was lied to and manipulated but expected to like where she was at and be meek and accepting about everything anyone did to her. They treat her like a child and get angry when she acts like one. Sheesh.

Now to the elephant in the room: The age gap. Normally I don't mind big age gaps, especially in paranormal romance novels. It's to be expected to a certain degree in the genre. This one bothered me though and it still continues to make me feel icky. It would have been so much better for the author to have aged up the main couple by 2 years each. Why not make it so that in the Dragonborn society she's considered a minor at 20 and can only bond at 25 or something. It would have been weird but understandable with a lot of world-building surrounding it.

Ah! Something else that was severely lacking in this book: worldbuilding. I read a whole book and I barely know the ins and outs of how their society works. We were over halfway into the book before the dragon families were even explained in vague detail. Worldbuilding is key to making a novel believable.

For the first time in my life, I actually wanted some info-dumps. I was that desperate. It lacked THAT much worldbuilding. I wanted to immerse myself in this world but there was only the barest sprinkle of information about it which made it impossible.

One thing that really ground my nerves was all the slut-shaming directed at the heroine both from an adult and her peers. Let's get one thing straight: The heroine had NO choice where the mating was concerned. She was in the dark about everything including the possible consequences of the ritual they did on her. No one had any idea that a bonding could take place in those circumstances. The hero did his best to hold back but his dragon/magic/destiny was stronger. Neither of them CHOSE to be bonded. She isn't a homewrecker (as I've seen mentioned in other reviews). Being a homewrecker implies that she went out of her way to be in a relationship with a guy she knew was with someone else. That didn't happen. It was destiny, not a choice both parties took.

Another thing I disliked was how the hero liked to tell the heroine that she didn't seem/act like her age. It was actually disturbing and made me feel all kinds of wrong. Though I loved how sweet, caring, and understanding he was. I liked how he didn't push her into anything and put the brakes on when he felt it was getting to be too much. He was a stand-up guy working his way up the food chain in the Dragonborn society and his obligations weren't put aside just because the bond happened without their control.

I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the heroine was thinking and reasoning out for herself. I was very surprised by how much she used her brain and backbone for being only 16. The adults didn't want to deal with her asking questions and compromising on some key factors. Her runaway attempts were valid. Since no one around her was telling her even the basics of this world, she (within reason) was going to go back to the one constant in her life one way or another. I can't blame her for that. It felt like every adult in her life either wanted to bully her or wanted her complacent which is why they were so closed-lipped about everything.

Even though there were a few plot holes that had me scratching my head I'm willing to give the next book a chance. I'm praying to the almighty book gods that there's more worldbuilding and less lying in the next book!

16 y/o fated to a 23 y/o and none of these reviewers find issues with that?

Look, I love PNR, I love forbidden love, and rejected mate stories. I love MC's that need growth and to work on themselves. But this story as a whole was not great. It had a good overall plot. Spoiler ALERT throughout my review, so be aware of that,

Girl being raised by single father, who doesn't know anything about the supernatural world, or that she could be a supernatural being. Good premise. Throw in a fated mate, the fact that she must go to an academy to learn about who she truly is... it's all a good enough plot. Here's where they lose me immediately. She's 16 and he's 23. Yes it's only 7 years, but we're not talking about a 20 and 27 year old. We're talking about a 16 year old virgin with zero experience with sex or serial acts in general, whom also lacks confidence in herself as a person. She's bratty, bitchy, yet accepts the fact that a strange lady comes to whisk her away, right after her dad ends up in a coma, and it's ok because she's the grandmother she's never met or even knew about. Her fated mate was going to propose to his long time gf whom everyone loves and adores, which creates more issues for our MC due to bullying (although it's not overly mean bullying imo, it could have been worse than name baking and fake rumors) and then later admits to it MC that he'll always have feelings for this lady even though he's bonded to our MC now. I'm sorry but that's nothing any girl ever wants to hear.

I think I've given enough in depth this that I found wrong with the story. I really don't like leaving bad reviews, I know that the author spent a good amount of time on this and I can tell she loves writing. So things I liked about the story was the overall plot, and the fact that it was a story with dragons, and not in a way that I've seen portrayed before. The fact that I got to read this free on my KU is the only reason I finished this story though.. well the first book. I doubt I'll read any further in this series, the age is just really killing it for me. And the mc's immaturity overall. I'm going to see if this author has a different series, and hopefully I'll like her other works, this one was just not a great as the revues made it out to be.

What a series starter!

Well... I’m intrigued! T.L. does a fantastic job of creating this whole new world centered around The DragonBorn. Her attention to detail is incredible. Definitely a fresh take on the genre. Sydney’s whole world is turned upside down when she realizes her whole life has been a lie. Being sheltered by her dad, Sydney is in no way prepared to be thrown into this new life. Sydney has a family she never knew existed, has to navigate school (which she’s never gone to), a whole new identity (she’s not a plain old human), the DragonBorn politics (she’s practically royalty) and oh let’s not forget that she soul bonded to someone she barely knows and it comes with a whole lot of drama. As someone who proclaims to be wise beyond her years, Sydney begins to realize she’s in way over her head, and maybe not as worldly as she thought. The chemistry between Sydney and Ashe is great, yes there is a “taboo’ feel to it, but I think T.L. navigates the tricky topic well. There is drama, betrayal, and twists and turns that take us on a wild ride. Just like Sydney, we have WAY more questions than answers, and a cliffhanger that makes it a bit frustrating, but the foundation has been laid for a great series and I’m curious to see what happens next!

Amy B
Such a wonderful read!

This review will not have any spoilers.

This read was compelling, surprising, and beyond any expectations I might have had when I first read the synopsis of this book.
It was so much more than I had expected. Wow. Ms. Christianson has taken the YA genre to a complete new level of fantasy.

The world of The Dragonborn is like nothing I have read before. The main character Sydney is from the human world and has been completely oblivious to the Dragonborn world until she is taken there because of an accident her father was in. She gets to the Dragonborn Academy where her life will be forever changed.

Sydney will have her eyes open to many things in this new world and she will have to overcome some obstacles for a girl that is still young.

This book has many exciting twists that I have not EVER read in any other book which in my opinion is PRICELESS.

I can not wait to read more in this series. Thank you T.L. Christianson for a remarkable journey and I am so ready for this trip.


Forbidden love, fated mates and dragons??? sign me up!

Was really craving some fated mates romance with a nice dash of dragon so when I read the description of this book I immediately added it to my 'want to read' list. Alas, I was hoping to wait until the series was complete but couldn't help myself and ended up buying the first two books and reading it on the same day, now i'm counting the days until the third one gets released.