Monday, June 12, 2023

Today's read... Three Tasks for a Dragon by Eoin Colfer

by Eoin Colfer
Illustrated by PJ Lynch
Candlewick Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
112 pages
ages 9 and up

OCTOBER 3rd!!!

With wit and gorgeous art, New York Times best-selling author Eoin Colfer and multi-award-winning illustrator P.J. Lynch team up again for a quest story of knights, dark magic, and a maiden with powers of her own.

Studious Prince Lir is next in line to become the Wolfhound King, but he can’t ride a horse, lift a sword, or summon the fabled wolfhounds. So his stepmother decrees that her own son will inherit the crown instead, sending Lir away on a seemingly impossible—and assuredly fatal—to rescue the maiden Cethlenn from the once-fearsome dragon Lasvarg. Rather than wage battle, Lir insists that Lasvarg, now decidedly past his prime, honor tradition by setting him three tasks to perform—starting with tackling the mold encrusting the dragon’s cave (and his feet!). As Lir improves Lasvarg’s life, he also grows closer to Cethlenn . . . as well as the wolfhound puppy strangely devoted to her. In time, they learn more of the dark magic that may be making pawns of them all—and how Cethlenn herself could be the key to breaking a spell that clouds the entire kingdom. With transporting language and a magnificent dragon masterfully rendered with a range of emotions, Eoin Colfer and P.J. Lynch make their own magic in this classic fantasy with a light feminist twist.



Ancient tales of dragons and knights echo through a hero with a different twist and an adventure, which hums the magic of a fairy tale.

Prince Lir is to inherit the throne, but he's not the war-like king many are accustom to. When his stepmother lays her plan to bring her own son to the crown, Lir's forced to take on a quest to prove his worth. A dangerous dragon holds a maiden captive, and somehow, Prince Lir has to find a way to free her. But instead of just a dragon, the prince soon finds that there's much more sinister magic at play.

With an atmosphere reminiscent to King Arthur's or Saint George's tales, this book swings into a prince and dragon fairy tale with a layer of magic. The writing style leans in this more traditional direction and is told in narrated form. The characters do draw in, are sympathetic, and easy to root for until the end. The plot twists and turns with surprises, and while some aspects are predictable, others are hard to see coming. There is heart as well as some food for thought woven in as the characters use heart and thought over force to achieve goals. The ending is unexpected and had me wondering if there will be a continuation, but it does wrap up things well enough to leave a little left for readers' dreams.

Each page is beautifully illustrated, which is a special treat for the audience level. It adds to the text and helps to build the world in all the best ways. Especially the dragon is well done and had me flipping through the pages a few times just to enjoy the artwork. 

While this is sold as a read for middle graders, the writing is geared toward the upper end of this age group and will appeal better to slightly older readers, ages twelve and up. Knight, kingdom, magic, and dragons fans are sure to enjoy this one quite a bit.

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