Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review: The Dragon Prophecy - Dugald A. Steer

The Dragon Prophecy by Dugald A. Steer
Series: Dragonology Chronicles #4
Genre: Middle Grade, adventure, historical fantasy
Published on August 28, 2012
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 224
Read From: 3.9.13 - 3.10.13

Brother and sister dragonology students Daniel and Beatrice Cook are looking forward to returning to their studies with Dr. Earnest Drake and Erasmus, their dragon tutor. But when they discover that the evil dragonologist Alexandra Gorynytchka is searching for the fearsome
Hammer of the Dragons - an ancient weapon that can kill hundreds of dragons in a single stroke - Dr. Drake and the children pursue her all the way to the Lost Island of the Dragons, where she is amassing an army of enslaved dragons. There they learn of the Dragon Prophecy, according to which the return of the Hammer of the Dragons can be stopped only by two children "wise beyond their years in the ways of dragons." Could the prophecy point to Daniel and Beatrice? And can they save dragonkind before it's too late?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes. It’s simple, it has pretty title font, and the dragon is awesome. I don’t mind being stared at by a dragon; it’s just people I don’t like on the front of books.

Characters: Daniel and Beatrice have always been good protagonists. They’re kids, they’re siblings, they’re eager for adventure, and they aren’t afraid. Daniel is a bit more cautious than his sister, Beatrice, and sometimes he can come across as a bit whiny, but his objections are reasonable, and his complaining is actually amusing. He may not always think things through before he tries something, but he is resourceful. Normally, I don’t approve of adults coming along on adventures with kids, because they always try to keep the kids safe (especially parents), but Dr. Drake is actually pretty awesome, in the sense that he shows concern for the kids’ safety, but in the long run doesn’t keep them from helping, no matter the danger. And the Author keeps Daniel and Beatrice’s parents out of the way, so they can’t complain. Torcher continues to be the world’s most adorable dracling, and I lament that Erasimus isn’t in this installment much, because I loved him the last one. Meanwhile, Alexandra Gorynytchka remains the most cliché villainess ever. She’s just not scary in any fashion. She gloats and sneers and loses her temper far too much to be taken seriously. Oh, yes, and she cackles maniacally on such a regular basis that it’s downright comical.

The Romance: There isn’t any!

Plot: Alexandra Gorynytchka is after yet another artifact that will assist her in her conquest over dragons, and it’s up to Daniel, Beatrice, and Dr. Drake to stop her. I’ll admit that every book has had pretty much the exact same storyline, and have all pretty much began the same way: Beatrice and Daniel are having a lesson, and something happens to interrupt it. Still, each installment introduces something new about the dragonology world, and booby traps and riddles and puzzles. A classic adventure story is predictable, and cliché, and full of treasure. Can’t forget the treasure. This Author, thankfully, doesn’t, nor does he forget the lost cities that happen to link back to Atlantis. The only thing he does forget are the Nazis, but it’s quite a few years too early for them, I suppose. Oh well. For all the predictability and clichéness of The Dragon Prophecy, it was still fun and exciting.

Believability: Not really applicable.

Writing Style: It has a classic flair to it, so it fits the era well enough. The Author doesn’t write down to his Readers, which is nice, and he describes booby traps and things like that in a comprehensive manner.

Content: None.

Conclusion: Minus the Nazis, The Dragon Prophecy has everything - and I mean everything - that a classic adventure story needs: mythical artifacts, booby traps, a doomsday scenario, lost cities, riddles, puzzles, cliché villain, not too bright henchmen, the right-hand man that turns against the villain in the end, but meets his death anyway because no Reader wants him redeemed, a death on the side of the heroes, - and to top it all off, a Jules Verne ending: there’s a volcano!!! You know you’re reading a good adventure story if everything goes up in a volcano. Still, the story actually has a tiny bit of a bittersweet ending, and somehow it suited. I would have adored this series when I was a kid, and even now, at age twenty (almost twenty-one), I enjoyed it.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-boy read, good for seven to twelve-year-olds, especially if they're looking for an adventure story with dragons.

Others in the Dragonology Chronicles:
1)The Dragon's Eye
2)The Dragon Diary
3)The Dragon's Apprentice
4)The Dragon Prophecy

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