Monday, October 20, 2014

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire #1) by Tui T. Sutherland

This fast-paced fantasy adventure is an entertaining read that students will scramble for at the library. The plot is not original, but the characters go through emotional arcs and have unique traits that make them memorable. The action goes gangbusters after the dragon escape and while parts are violent, the fact that it is dragons and not humans removes the reader to some extent. However, if you read other reviews some were offended by dragons biting off human heads and necks being broken. One felt it was gratuitous and you'll have to decide for yourself what you think. The world building is fine, although the beginning pours on the information too fast at times and makes for slow pacing. I found the Prologue confusing. The point of view of the dragons, the gladiator-type fights, the school setting to learn powers, and the evil villains vying for power over the world are common motifs found in fantasy stories.

Five dragonets are prophesied as ending the war between three dragon tribes. Clay, the protagonist, is one of the few kind dragons that worries about not being violent enough to save the world. Even though he is the biggest of the five dragons, he's been told by his teachers that he lacks killer instinct necessary to win the war. The adults that are training the dragons are cruel and untrustworthy. Each dragon has a unique trait and characteristic that the adults see as weaknesses. They also represent five different tribes that war with each other. According to the adults, Clay needs to find his killer instinct. He's too kind and loyal. Glory is a substitute dragon found to fulfill the prophecy after the intended one was intentionally smashed by an enemy. She has no worth to the adults. She's shy and accused of being lazy because of her need to nap every afternoon. Tsunami is the impulsive, courageous leader who will stand up to the adults and charge into danger with glee. Starlight is the know-it-all scholar who can read minds. Sunny is the smallest and the others protect her and are bad at listening to her. She's likable to others.

The dragonets have been hatched under a mountain and are being raised by three nasty adults that serve the Talons of Peace rebellion. The dragonets have not been raised in their tribes and by placing the dragonets together the adults have created a group that tolerates differences and hasn't been indoctrinated by tribal prejudices. When the dragonets finally do meet others in the outside world, the other dragons comment on how strange it is that these groups will mix, talk, and defend each other. The dragonets loyalty to each other is not based on appearance or culture, but on what is inside. They are friends. Hence they represent a global peace missing in other tribes. This is a strong message that can make for good discussions on tolerance.

When Glory's life is threatened the dragonets escape the mountain only to be caught by the cruel Queen Scarlet who is a caricature of vanity and cruelness. She has created an arena of gladiator games where dragons are forced to fight to the death. Her champion is the young Peril who can incinerate people with her volcanic touch. She becomes friends with the kind Clay causing her to question her life as a killer. In the outside world, some of the dragonets discover newfound powers after reacting with the environment in ways they were not able to under the mountain. The dragonets bond even more and the ending leaves plenty of questions about possible betrayals, other powers, and more adventures that will have readers scurrying for the sequel.

4 Smileys

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