Rise of the Dragons – Angie Sage – Rise of the Dragons #1 – Scholastic Press – Published 26 February 2019
Once our world was full of dragons who lived in harmony with humans. But after a group of rogue dragons, the Raptors, tried to take over Earth, all dragons were banished to another realm.
Most humans forgot about the dragons, claiming they never existed. Eleven-year-old Sirin knows the truth — she grew up with stories passed down through the generations. However, when her mother falls ill, even Sirin has trouble believing in magic . . . until she sees a mysterious streak of silver in the night sky.
Sirin becomes the first child to “lock” with a dragon in centuries — forming a deep friendship unlike anything she’s ever imagined. But Sirin learns that not all dragons returned with good intentions, and soon she finds herself at the center of a battle between the dragons who want to protect the humans . . . and those who want to destroy them.
I adored The Magyk series by Angie Sage and it remains a perennial favourite with our library’s young readers, and so I jumped at the chance to read and review the first book in her newest fantasy series, Rise of the Dragons. With the promise of game cards and a matching online game, Rise of the Dragons promised to be an exciting release. The new world Sage has created and her daring plot of intrigue, dragon battles and family bonds is both thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable. It is sure to be a hit with our middle-grade readers. After all, everything is better with dragons.
Once upon a time dragons roamed the earth. Now dragons are just a myth, but Sirin, raised on the tales of old, knows the truth. In another world, Joss and Allie’s life was destroyed by the Raptors – fearsome dragons and their riders who seek to control and destroy everything in their path. When Joss discovers a silver dragon egg and Locks with the dragon that hatches, he and his sister are thrown into a world where they will have to fight for freedom and to prevent the Raptors taking control of them, their dragon and the power to cross over to the other world.
Firstly, the synopsis provided for Rise of the Dragons seems to be a more overarching indication of the plot of this series, rather than the plot of this particular book. The events hinted at in the publisher provided synopsis, focused on Sirin and her journey Locking with a dragon, form a very small part of Rise of the Dragon. While Sirin’s story and voice are captured in a few chapters, the majority of the chapters are shared between Joss, Allie, dragons and members of the Lennix family, who rule the Raptors. The entirety of the book is written in third person, so this frequent switching of character focus is easy to follow along with.
The dragons in Rise of the Dragons are very cool. While they do not differ too much from the standard winged, flame-breathing creatures of many a fantasy novel, the ability to Lock with humans and communicate via both Dragonsong and mentally with their Lock is interesting. They are truly fearsome beasts and Rise of the Dragons culminates in a deadly and brutal battle. There are frequent references to death (by eating, fire, and injury), both human and dragon, which may frighten some younger readers.
Joss and Allie, along with Sirin in the periphery, make for strong and likeable protagonists. While Joss makes some big mistakes, he is quick to correct them, while his sister and Sirin offer two very strong and wise portrayals of young girls.
With plenty of adventure and intrigue, it is easy to be captivated by the fast-moving plot of Rise of the Dragons. This promises to be an exciting series and I look forward to reading the continuing adventures of these three young people and their dragons.
You can play the online version of the card game at scholastic.com https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/… It took me a few tries to figure out the structure of the game, but unfortunately I never progressed past level one. Even with many attempts, multiple strategies and an increasing level of determination to best it, I never won. I am very interested in seeing how the cards can be used to play in real life.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Children’s fiction, middle-grade fiction.
Themes: Dragons, magic, family, belonging, death, grief, freedom, betrayal.
Reading age guide: Ages 8 to 12.
Advisory: Fantasy violence. References to and descriptions of death and injury, particularly of animals (dragons)
Published: 26 February 2019 by Scholastic Press.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 272 pages.