Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas

Worldquake Sequence, Book 1
by Scarlett Thomas
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Middle Grade Fantasy
ages 8+
384 pages

MAY 30th, 2017!!!

The Neverending Story meets Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy in this first magical adventure in a new series from acclaimed novelist Scarlett Thomas.

Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.

Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green

Acclaimed novelist Scarlett Thomas invites you into the wondrous realm of the Worldquake Sequence, where magic most decidedly exists, a growing evil lurks, and a group of children is destined to save the world.


With the whimsical magic of Harry Potter and an other-feel of The Neverending Story, this is the beginning of an amazing, unforgettable journey.

The world has changed since the great Worldquake, one that has split the real world from the magical one. Not that most people in the real world will admit that a magical one even exists and many simply don't know it. Effie's grandfather seems to be magical, but she can't be sure since her father has forbidden him from ever speaking about or teaching her magic. When Effie's grandfather dies and leaves her several boons as well as an impressive library, her magical journey begins. Her first quest is to save her newly inherited and mysteriously magical library from evil hands.

This was one of the best middle grade fantasy novels I've read in a while. The world is so rich and alluring that it's impossible not dream that it might really be true. Packed full of wondrous, childlike fantasy, everything from princesses to dragons to hot buns and portals makes an appearance. The feeling of awe seeps in around every bend. Still, there's enough touch of the familiar to keep it all in place. The starting world is much like our own, only that the internet has disappeared, leaving people to run around with pagers.

Adventure is key as Effie heads out to discover not only a magical world she knows nothing about, but also the secret about her grandfather. The steady paced action holds many unexpected twists and is sprinkled with excitingly dangerous situations which take more than luck and muscle to work through. Thanks to Effie's fairly quick wit, a group of new found friends, and unexpected extended family along the way, the complex world unfolds bit by bit. Told in third person, the narration offers quirky little tidbits here and there, and sprinkles in the right amount of humor when needed.

A careful balance is held between the adventure and the unfolding information concerning the complex world. This curbs the action a bit, allowing the characters to develop and the rules of the magical world to start to lay a solid foundation.  The layers are deep, and many questions still need to be answered. But this is the great beginning to what promises to be an unforgettable magical journey in the rest of the series.

And here she is. . .

Scarlett Thomas was born in London. She is the author of nine books for adults, including The Seed Collectors, PopCo, The End of Mr. Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, and Our Tragic Universe. Dragon's Green is her first novel for young readers. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent.

You can find more about her at http://www.scarlettthomas.co.uk

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