Strengths:This was well-written and easy to follow even though I have missed book two. There was a lot of fighting, which many students like, the characters were easy to understand, and the plot was uncomplicated. After reading fantasy for a month and a half solid, let me tell you that an uncomplicated plot is something very rare in fantasy, and I appreciated it.
Weaknesses:The first book is not circulating in my library. The Lost Years of Merlin books are falling to pieces, but I had forgotten I even had Merlin's Dragon. This is a shame, but there must be something about it that's not appealing to students.
Strengths:All over the place. Student appeal, message, writing, format of book.
Weaknesses:The inside cover blurb is instant poison: "Brimming with heart, humor and ultimately hope, [this] is a powerhouse of a novel that will stay with you well after you've turned the last page." True. But that's the way language arts teachers describe Bridge to Terebithia or Jacob Have I Loved. Bleah. Not a way to get kids to read the book!
Think I have fewer than 40 Cybils books to read, but it is getting a little desperate because there are some that are not held by any libraries in Ohio! I have a pile for over Thanksgiving, but am also stocking up on some books that were not nominated for the science fiction and fantasy award just in case. Or maybe I'll clean the basement. Or watch some movies.