I merely pretend to be a Geek. Sure, I have some qualifications, but here are my shameful confessions: I don't like Monte Python and can't quote it. I didn't read all of Tolkien until I was 32, and I hated the Silmarillion. I don't play chess. Or Risk. I've never seen even the first Star Wars movie.
Fantasy books are extremely hard for me to read. I have to take notes. When I'm reading for pleasure, it's usually some horrible, girly, realistic book. But I try.
I spent the evening of our snow day on Wednesday slowly reading James A. Owens' The First Dragon. It was gorgeous and multifaceted and complex and brilliant, and it completely transported me away from chilly Ohio. Though I took notes, there was so much that I wasn't able to comprehend that I don't think I can do justice to a review. I will try.
If you are a fan of high fantasy, or if you have readers who are, this series is a must. Sadly, my public library has only books two, three, four and six, a situation I intend to remedy right away.
Owen, James A. The First Dragon. (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica #7)
November 12, 2013,Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The Keep of Time has been destroyed and the Imaginarium Geographica is lost in Deep Time. The Caretakers know they need to find the Architect and enlist his help. When the Black Dragon ship shows up, they go in search of Argus, the builder, in the hope that he can separate the dragon from the ship. Argus is able to do this, since he built the ship at the request of Mordred, to use in fighting the Erechthoi. It turns out that the dragon used was actually Madoc/Mordred, Rose Dyson's father, who joins the search for the Architect. Samaranth comes to help, Kipling finds Dr. Dee and attempts to neutralize him, and Poe arrives with a book that might help-- an older history that was never in the Repository because it never left his person. Using their final trips through the Zanzibar Gate to try to get to the Keep of Time, the group is finally given the secret to travel back. Can they figure out the rest of the puzzle and restore the Keep before it is too late?
Strengths: The layers of mythology and literally allusion are stacked so deeply and brilliantly that I can only shake my head in wonder. Utnapishtim is Deucalion is Ordo Maas is... well, I don't want to give it away. I felt like I should research about two things on every page. The outline for this must be astounding. If you have readers who know every elf and dwarf in The Hobbit, you NEED this.
Weaknesses: This is a bit sophisticated for middle school, but every year I have a reader or two who makes it through the whole series. Also, this is the last book. Ah, but seven books is just about perfect.
Here are the books in the series:
Here There Be Dragons
The Search for the Red Dragon
The Indigo King
The Shadow Dragons
The Dragon's Apprentice
The Dragons of Winter
(I know I read these last two, but can't find my reviews!)