1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A rollicking feminist tale set in 1950s America where thousands of women have spontaneously transformed into dragons, exploding notions of a woman’s place in the world and expanding minds about accepting others for who they really are. • The first adult novel by the Newbery award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small—their lives and their prospects—and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.

©2022 Kelly Barnhill (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Ferociously imagined, incandescent with feeling, this book is urgent and necessary and as exhilarating as a ride on dragonback."—Lev Grossman, author of The Magicians Trilogy

"Completely fierce, unmistakably feminist, and subversively funny, When Women Were Dragons brings the heat to misogyny with glorious imagination and talon-sharp prose. Check the skies tonight—you might just see your mother."—Bonnie Garmus, author of Lessons in Chemistry 

"A complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities. This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons."—Kirkus (starred review)  

What listeners say about When Women Were Dragons

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    27
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    88
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    78
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Definitely a good listen

Excellent storyline. touches on all aspects of human nature along with the deep love and compassion shared be women and their notorious anger.

With all the talk nowadays about overturning Roe v Wade, it is a deeply moving story of our human plight and hope for the return of the Divine Feminine.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful tale

A coming of age tale, that's equal parts reality and magic, masterfully narrated! From tragedy to triumph, love infuses this story - love of self, romantic love, familial love... All are challenged, and all triumph in the end. Kimberly Farr's narration set the scene for me in a way that my mind couldn't even approach from reading the written word.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

I loved this book. It resonated on so many levels. It made me laugh, cry, scream and cheer. I come from a long line of dragons. I am happily a dragon 🐉

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Fairy Tale for our time

Great book
I would love to read more books set in this world. Looking for my inner dragon.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Book, when women were dragons

If this book was making a statement I really don’t know what it was. The book held my interest but when I got to the end I was disappointed because I still didn’t understand what the author was trying to say.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Perfect Book for this moment in U.S. history

Outstanding story, enjoyable narration, a powerful tale and an instant classic. It was the story I needed to hear in June of 2022.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

First book in awhile that ...

actually made me FEEL angry about the situation, and for the main character. Absolutely recommend reading.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not my usual genre!

I listened to this book because of the title and a short quote another reader posted on FB. It intrigued me during this time of turmoil in the USA. Some of it was too fanciful for me (really not my genre) but it did stay interesting throughout the story. I had a lot of emotions as I listened to it, mostly anger and sadness due to the patriarchy that these women and girls were living with. I remember the 50's and 60's too well and this brought up so much of my inability to be who I was instead of what society wanted me to be.
I would recommend this book for anyone who grew up in those days and anyone who enjoys fantasy. Certainly younger people would enjoy it, too. It just wouldn't be as emotional as it was for this Baby Boomer.
It's easy to believe that women could become real dragons since many did that without literally growing huge with scales! Thank heavens for liberation and may we gain more power in the future. I am a Dragon!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Masterpiece of love and acceptance

This is a marvelous manifesto! A how-to manual for all people to consume, a cosmic display of the power of acceptance and unconditional love. Kelly, thank you. <3

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Slow going

Lots of back story. My attention was not kept until chapter 30. Had really high hopes for this book.