Friday, September 20, 2013

Kasey And His Dragon (E. H. White)

Kasey And His Dragon
E. H. White
Amazon Digital Services
Fiction, YA Fantasy
* (Terrible)

DESCRIPTION: Since Kasey's father disappeared, things have been rough for him and his mother. He works around the neighborhood to earn money, often with his best friend Alicia helping out, but it's never enough. Worse, due to a mix-up with his father's military paperwork, the Army is denying he even worked for them and is refusing benefits. Just when things seem worse than ever, Kasey discovers something strange in a neighbor's pond: a glittering diamond orb, from which a white dragon emerges. Kasey finds himself whisked away to the world of Onadida, seven galaxies away, enrolled in a magical school where children learn to work with animals magical and mundane. It's a wonderful place, made even better when Alicia arrives to find her own special animal friend, but all is not well here. The other children resent an offworlder getting the privilege of a white dragon; they have to study and compete hard for the few available dragons, and white dragons only occur once in a generation. Parts of Onadida also seem to be missing, a whole half of the rainbow, but nobody will tell Kasey or Alicia what happened. The boy soon finds his heart and his skills put to the test as dangers threaten his family, his new friends, and the entire planet of Onadida.
A Kindle-exclusive title.

REVIEW: Having just finished Kasey And His Dragon, I have two burning questions: what did I just read, and who thought it was ready to be published? It reads like the ill-advised offspring of Eragon and Pokemon, with a touch of Harry Potter, a dash of Dragonriders of Pern, and a metric ton of New Age energy jargon. Kasey's an empty shell of a protagonist, surrounded by friends and guides... and a host of nameless children who, despite existing on a planet that prides itself on its spiritual enlightenment, and despite having earned the privilege of great powers at this special school, behave like jealous jerks because the white dragon chose an Earthling over them. But, it's no wonder the dragon Halyn decided on him. The whole of the cosmos seems to exist solely to comfort and awe Kasey and teach him lessons on Healing and Enlightenment. Onadida is not so much a world as a Lesson made manifest, with less logic and cohesiveness than a three-year-old's crayon scribblings. Animals shrink and grow at will, depending on whether the author wants to rip off Eragon with a flight scene or Harry Potter with a magical classroom - oops, I suppose animals have to change size, if that pachyderm and the butterfly with the seven-foot wingspan are going to fit indoors. Similarly, miraculous devices materialize whenever the plot decides it's easier to just handwave away something than have the characters deal with it - which is most of the time. Need breakfast? Just wish for it. Want to explain why a teleporting dragon doesn't escape captivity? Um - there's "some sort of device" to prevent it. Don't ask why or how, there just is. (And, yes, the narrative does use the words "some sort of device.") People on Onadida can even materialize and dematerialize at will; I want to believe there's a reason for this, and not that the author just didn't know how to get people to show up or leave a scene otherwise. The story, such as it is, starts out cute, quickly grows threadbare, then just up and leaves the building in a hallucinatory mess of spiritual lessons before arriving at a climax that seems to have come from an entirely different draft, if not another story altogether. And then it ends, in a way that dropped the story to the rock-bottom rating.
I looked on Amazon, trying to determine if E. H. White is a teen or preteen who, while possessing a vivid imagination and admirable ambition, jumped the gun on going public with their work. I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. But, unable to confirm my suspicions, I have to treat this story as I would any other book, by any other author.
(As a closing note, I enjoyed the cover art.)

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Dragonsdale (Salamanda Drake) - My Review
The First Dragoneer (M. R. Mathias) - My Review
The Dragon Slayer with a Heavy Heart (Marcia Powers) - My Review

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