Narrator: Fred Wolinsky
Publisher: Joe Broadmeadow (2016)
Length: 8 hours 38 minutes
Young Duncan Emeris has a fairly normal life. He has a dog, two parents, and is required to go to school. But then he starts writing fanciful tales. In fact, the story seems to come to him in his dreams and seems to be almost writing itself. Pretty soon, he learns that his story isn’t just a story and he’s swept into the hunt for the last dragon egg, pitted against determined foes, but joined by stalwart friends.
This story was OK for me. It was your pretty standard kid’s fantasy quest. There’s our young hero, Duncan, a possible love interest, Kathy, the old sage who guides the young hero, Professor Templar, and a comedic companion, Jamieson. Toss in an old dragon, Balinor, and some side characters that provide additional help, and you have the winning team. Opposing them are some sneaky bad guys that can shape shift and one treacherous backstabber. The hunt is on for the last known dragon egg. Whoever possesses the egg can’t harm it, but they can influence the tiny being inside for good or evil. The bad guys are easy to spot and the good guys always refuse to kill even when it would be smartest to do so. Pretty predictable plot, but much like comfort food.
I did like that the author threw in some languages for fun. There’s some mostly made up dragon language (which sounds like a Germanic derivative), and then some German, some Latin, and a smidge here or there of some other tongue. As a person who once upon a time studied languages, I found this fun. Alas, it was also a small plot defect at the end. The traitor has a name that points to their true nature and none of our language buff characters caught it, which seemed unlikely. Setting that little criticism aside, I definitely liked the inclusion of the languages as part of the world building and part of the clues that help our hero.
Speaking of our hero, he’s in a wheelchair. Hooray for diversity in children’s fantasy! And his dog isn’t named Tripod for nothing. Both get around with ease and are useful characters throughout the story. I also liked that the genders were well balanced, there being a roughly equal number of ladies and gents on the two opposing teams.
So my biggest criticism is that the plot is predictable, which made this book a little boring for me. That’s OK. It won’t be boring for everyone, and again, it was a bit like comfort food. My second criticism is that the author kept using the terms toxin, poison, venom, all the same way along with ‘infected by’. Sigh. The biologist in me kept slapping my forehead on this one. They do not mean the same things and they don’t act the same way. A quick internet search on each terms would clear that right up. Still, we all get the point for the story’s sake.
Over all, I think kids or folks just dabbling in the fantasy genre will enjoy it.
I received this book free of charge from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Fred Wolinsky did a great job with this book. Each character had a distinct voice and he portrayed the age ranges and the gender differences quite well. His mastery shows in how fluent he sounded in the made up dragon language. Well done!
What I Liked: The cover art; a fantasy story that is comfort food; use of languages; our hero is wheelchair bound; gender equality.
What I Disliked: The story was a bit predictable; misuse of such terms as toxin, venom, and poison; there was a minor disbelieving moment at the end when none of our language buff characters had ever caught on to the ‘hidden’ meaning of the character’s name.