Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy (Tui T. Sutherland)

Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy
(The Wings of Fire series, Book 1)
Tui T. Sutherland
Fiction, YA Fantasy
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: When a hairless little scavenger slaughtered the old SandWing queen, chaos erupted across the dragon world. Since none of her three daughters had killed the old queen, there was no clear heir to the vacant crown. Blister, Burn, and Blaze have been fighting ever since, even dragging other dragon tribes into their decades-long conflict. But there may be hope for peace in a NightWing prophecy of five dragonets, hatched on the brightest three-moon night, who will end the war and choose the rightful queen. None of the rivals trust the prophecy to favor them, hunting down and slaughtering any of the so-called Talons of Peace who are determined to see it fulfilled - but destiny will not be so easily thwarted...
According to his guardians, Clay the MudWing tried to kill his nestmates when he hatched - but he's been an oversized klutz ever since, the worst of the five dragonets hidden in the secret cave by Talons of Peace guardians. Maybe he's too softhearted and stupid to fulfill the prophecy, as he fears, but they have two more years to grow. Hopefully he'll find the inner monster he was hatched with by then, the one that will let him fight like a proper warrior. Only Tsunami the SeaWing grows restless; she tires of life underground, and doesn't see how they're supposed to save a world they've never even seen. She's determined to escape - and so is Clay, after he overhears their guardians planning to kill off one of the five: harmless Glory the RainWing, a last-minute substitute for the SkyWing called for by the prophecy. The plan goes wrong almost from the start, plunging Clay and his fellow dragonets into a world far more cruel, violent, and treacherous than any of their studies could've prepared them for. Do the dragonets of prophecy stand a chance when the whole of the dragon world stands against them?

REVIEW: As a dragon-lover, I could hardly resist trying this popular new middle-grade series. Sutherland creates a wonderfully imaginative world that's sure to enthrall young fantasy fans, with several different tribes of dragon (each with their own look and special skills) and interesting characters. Clay and the other dragonets start out fairly simplistic (he's the big, lovable oaf, Tsunami's the scrapper, the NightWing Starflight's the studious and aloof one, the runt SandWing Sunny's overly trusting and optimistic, and Glory the RainWing's the overlooked, quiet one), but they all grow significantly, each finding unexpected challenges that they sometimes fail to negotiate. The dragon world is not a kind one: surprising levels of death and betrayal wind through the plot, and the talons of the dragonets aren't entirely clean by the end. The prophecy itself has potentially tainted origins, as well, and the Talons of Peace can be every bit as ruthless and cold as the queens they claim to oppose. Starting off quickly, the story moves at a fair flight speed, with the odd touch of humor to liven darker moments. Being the first of the series, it resolves just enough to set the dragonets on their path, while leaving more twists and hooks to keep readers eager for the next book. If the dialog sounded a little human and juvenile at times, if the odd anachronism slipped in now and again, and if the message was a trifle heavy-handed, well, it's aimed at middle-grade audiences. The Dragonet Prophecy marks a nice, solid start to a series any young dracophile will enjoy.

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Dragoncharm (Graham Edwards) - My Review
Bitterwood (James Maxey) - My Review
Song of the Summer King (Jess E. Owens) - My Review

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