by Katie Cross

According to,

“the main difference between Novel and Novella is that a novel is a fictional story that is longer and has more word count, whereas, a novella is a fictional piece of writing that is longer than a short story and shorter than a novel, and also less complex as compared to the novel.”

Allow me to point out two key words in this comparison: “less complex.” Derek does not actually fit that description. I get that word count has the most to do with whether a book is considered a novel or a novella. With Derek, word count is the only thing that separates this novella from a novel.

Derek Black is a very complex character. We have gotten to know him through Bianca since Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. Now we are many years past Bianca’s first year with Miss Mabel, and both Derek and Bianca have given everything they have to Alkarra. They have also lost almost everything because of their dedication to The Central Network. When Derek begins, very few people even know where he is. He has disappeared, and even Bianca does not know where to find him or why he left.

Katie Cross takes the readers on a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure in Derek. Everyone in Alkarra knows that Derek Black is not a witch to challenge, for he will not only step up to the challenge, but he will decimate his opponents. He will stop at nothing to protect Alkarra, not just from other witches but also from demigods who think they can take over Alkarra. However, in addition to the strong Derek Black we expect, we see a side of Derek that he was not even sure he would ever see again. He loves Marie still, even years after her death, and speaks to her daily. He has never loved anyone the way he loves her. Would finding love again diminish what he had with Marie? Will Bianca ever accept Derek with anyone other than her mother? Will Derek be brave enough to let his feelings be known?

Just when we think we are going to find the answers to some of these questions – BAM! Katie Cross pulls the rug out from under Derek and her readers, leaving them shocked and bewildered. No one knows what happened. We only know that Derek, his chances at love, and Alkarra are all in jeopardy. Derek may not be able to come back from what he is told right before Katie Cross types, “THE END.”

If you are new to Alkarra, start your journey where it all began. Grab your FREE COPY of Flame, Book 1 of the Dragonmaster Trilogy here.