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The Last Summoner by Sherryl Jordan

The Last Summoner by Sherryl Jordan. Pub.  Scholastic, 2011.

“A story is like an onion: the more you peel off, the more there is underneath” When you peel all the layers off you come to the core and that core is the reader, it is you. This is Sherryl Jordan’s philosophy in this novel for children and she does it brilliantly.

This is a story of dragons, the heart of much fantasy writing, and if you believe in dragons then the child still lurks within you and you are richer for it.

Dragons have been enslaved by a curse which binds them forever to the will of the Summoner and to residing in Bodenroth Swamp. The dragons have been used to fight wars and their lives are miserable. Will they be released from the curse?

Into the story comes Poppy Loddo, the last summoner who is blind. He hasn’t a living son to pass the secrets of the summoner on to, but he does have a grand daughter, Ari, who dreams of the dragons and instinctively knows the song that can summon them from the swamp. Will she get the chance? A mirror made of moon dust may hold the key.

Another war is threatening and the dragons  need to be summoned. This precipitates an outstanding adventure fantasy that will melt your heart and kick start that inner kid that we all have in us. Essentially it is for primary and intermediate school children but go on give it a crack, you will love it.

Read it aloud to your children, this is a beauty.

No Such thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve

January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

No Such thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve. Pub. Scholastic Childrens books. 2009

The best book about a dragon that I have read since Sheryl Jordan’s Hunting the last Dragon, only better. More an adventure than a fantasy and a superb story that will grip you tighter than the scaly talons of the dragon.

Philip Reeve showed his mastery of the Medieval mentality in his Carnegie Medal winning title Here lies Arthur, and in this title he portrays a Christendom full of tricksters, villains and fraudsters, none greater than Brock the dragon slayer, one of the central characters in this novel.

Brock preys on people’s fears of the dragon, rather than on the reality of the existence of a dragon that slaughters livestock and burns villages with it’s fiery breath. He employs a young boy, Ansel, to be his squire. Ansel has had a horrid upbringing and has lost the power of speech through mistreatment by his father.¬† Will he get it back by the end of the story?

Brock and Ansel are employed to kill a dragon that allegedly lives on Dragon mountain, and the villagers tell graphic stories of what it looks like and what it has done. Brock is secretly cynical but agrees to set off into the mountains with Ansel and a reluctant holy monk, Flegel, who is nothing but a fraud himself. What will happen to him?

On the mountain they meet a young girl, Else, who was left as a sacrifice to the dragon, but has somehow survived, and confirms that the dragon exists and the villagers horror stories are true.

What happens after that is just magnificent and the ending is superb. If you miss this dragon story it serves you right.

Aimed at Intermediate and junior secondary but if you like dragon stories you’re going to love this one.