Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch, book 2: Wrath of the Dragon KingShadow Mountain Publishing, 2018.

Seth is frozen–rendered completely immobile by the fear of the dragon before him. Even his knowledge that this dragon is a friend cannot outweigh the fear that paralyses him. Seth and his sister Kendra may be co-caretakers at Wyrmroost, but only Kendra is immune to dragon fear, and Seth is only protected when he holds her hand. There are a few logistical problems with that, plus it’s embarrassing!

Now Celebrant, the Dragon King, has invited Seth and Kendra to a feast and it’s an invitation they can’t refuse. But Kendra’s immunity to dragon fear once helped her get the better of Celebrant, and that made him her enemy. Will the dragons honor their rules of hospitality at the feast or will Seth and Kendra be risking their lives just to attend?

I came to this preview of the second book of the Dragonwatch series without having read the first book nor any other than the first book in the Fablehaven series. Nevertheless, the world-building in Wrath of the Dragon King is strong, so although there were many characters to be introduced to in a short time, I felt as if I understood the world itself and the challenges the main characters faced right away.

This story will be loved by readers who love magical creatures, lore, and of course, mythical battles. There is magic here, but much of the interest in the tale seems to focus on strategy, cleverness, ancient rules, and societies. Seth and Kendra have a real challenge in front of them. I can’t wait to find out how it ends!

I received a preview of Wrath of the Dragon King from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Two Spells by Mark Morrison

51fuRmKahML Twins Sarah and John are off to Wales for the summer to stay with the grandparents they’ve barely met. Almost immediately, even before the family has reached their destination, it’s clear that the area of their mother’s birth isn’t ordinary. A werewolf in the road, a fortress named Two Spells atop a mountain, and a mysteriously dysfunctional GPS that keeps returning them to Two Spells rather than guiding them to their grandparents are merely the beginning of their adventure.

Soon the twins are completely immersed in the world of the magical library—intrigued by the library and the magic within it. Soon enough it is clear that there are forces at work that would destroy the library, and they’re right in the middle of a battle for survival: the library’s and their own.

Mark Morrison’s first book shows that he has a great love of fantasy and magical worlds and a fantastic imagination.

Although I, too, am a fantasy lover, I often found myself disoriented in the complexities of the plot of Two Spells, although your mileage may vary. I also wished that Sarah had a little more agency and a little less help from adults and magical creatures in the resolution.

Though the author puts this book at a young adult level, I’d put it at a middle grade level, as Sarah and Jon seem young for a true young adult book.

The author sent me a copy of the book in hopes of receiving a review.

 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

FalconerChronicle Books, 2014

Kam is not your ordinary Victorian debutante. She was quite an eligible catch in Edinburgh society—that is until the grisly murder of her mother. Now Kam lives under dual shadows of pity and suspicion. But Kam cares little about how others see her—much less than she once would have—for with her mother’s murder she discovered another world, a world that changed her life. Now Kam spends her evenings battling and killing faeries, and her greatest challenge is how to hide her new badass self in the façade of the demure debutante she once was.

Ironically, the only ones who know Kam for her new faerie-slaying self are her partner and trainer, an uber-powerful faerie and the pixie who inhabits her closet, fixes her clothes, and drinks all the honey he can get his little hands on. Soon, Kam’s going to have to get beyond her one-faerie-a-night killing spree because the most powerful faeries, the ones that have been safely locked away for thousands of years, are about to get free, and if Kam doesn’t stop them, they’ll be coming for her and for everything she loves best.

I requested this book from NetGalley because the title led me to believe I’d be delving into a world of medieval bird wielders. Well, not so much, but I certainly was not disappointed. A strong heroine is exactly what appeals to me in a Victorian setting. I much prefer the young woman whose main concern is hiding her weapons in her ball gown than the one who’s agonizing about how to fill her dance card. The steam punk elements are great fun to contemplate, and the main characters’ histories and personalities are complicated enough to be mused over in the times one must stop reading to attend to real-world responsibilities.

I went from this book straight to The Vanishing Throne, the second book in the series which did not disappoint. The Fallen Kingdom, the third book in the series, is out in June. I’ve got the ARC waiting in my reader, and I’m eagerly awaiting the moment that it rises to the top of my to be read list!

Happy Book Birthday to The Memory Thief!

Memory ThiefHere’s what the publisher had to say about this great new middle grade read:

“Twin brother and sister Benji and Kelly wander off at the local county fair after witnessing their parents argue. When Benji runs into a group of bullies, he escapes into a tent called The Memory Emporium, where he meets a strange old man inside named Louis. The old man shows him a magically vivid memory of a fighter pilot, in the hopes of getting Benji to pay to see other memories Louis has collected from people over the years. Benji quickly realizes the ability to take memories could help his parents stop fighting with each other, and he asks Louis to teach him how to become a “memory thief.” But Louis isn’t the only person with the ability to show and manipulate memories.”

I gave this middle grade book five stars on Goodreads. It’s perfect for middle grade readers, full of the kinds of questions and yearnings that intrigue them. Read my review here.