Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Anya and the Dragon

Pasternack , Sofiya. Anya and the Dragon
September 24th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Anya's family is struggling in a small village in a Medieval, Slavic area. Her father has been conscripted, and the local magistrate claims that the family haven't payed taxes (from which they thought they were exempt) and so owe 500 rubles or their property will be seized. Ivan and his family of fools move to town in search of a dragon and offer Anya money to help find one after she saves a local religious leader from being choked by a violent dragon hunter, Sigurd, by beaning Sigurd with a horseshoe! She takes the job even though she doesn't hate dragons, or, indeed, know much a bout them. Ivan's family is also unusual in that they openly use magic. Anya's grandmother and mother have mild forms of magic at their command, but they are very careful about using it lest they be arrested. Anya reads some of Ivan's books and thinks that his take on magical creatures is wrong; he doesn't even understand their house spirit, who is certainly not evil. When Anya finds Håkon, a dragon, she is concerned that Ivan will turn him over to his father, but he doesn't. Some information about various members of their community comes to light, and of course, Sigurd comes after Håkon. Anya and Ivan are involved in this epic battle, but will they be able to save their friend?
Strengths: I really enjoyed the Jewish culture in this book, and the depiction of how Anya and her family are treated because they are "foreigners". The grandmother is a great character, and I liked the scenes with Anya and her goat and making challah. Dragon books have been hot in my library because of Sutherland's Wings of Fire, so the cover will appeal to those readers. The friendship with Ivan is a good one, and his realization that perhaps magical creatures are not all evil, despite what his father says, is a good one for young readers to see.
Weaknesses: I wish there had been more set up of Anya's world; the use of Russian and Serbian words puts it in a particular area, but doesn't specify, and I wasn't sure it was a Medieval setting until a note in the back. It could easily have been set in the 1800s (with dragons). Also, I've seen a lot of books that have the basic premise of magic being illegal but people wanting to use it anyway, and of the population being unsure whether dragons are good or evil.
What I really think: I will have to see how many fans of dragon books I have this year; the ending of this book leaves it open to be a series. Also, I wish the cover had been a silhouette of Anya in her head scarf (which is described in the book) instead of her with a Barbie-style ponytail.

Khorana, Aditi. Liferaft (Horizon #5)
September 3rd 2019 by Scholastic Inc.
Library copy

If you have gotten any of these books, know that this is the last book in the series. I have had problems following the video game style action of these, although the Cub Tones amused me greatly. The books are short, and a decent science fiction adventure, just not my personal favorite.

From Goodreads:
"They've been looming in the distance the whole time, watching silently as the young survivors of the crash-landed Aero Horizon Flight 16 crossed a gauntlet of dangerous, unnatural landscapes.

After weeks of terror and heartbreak, Molly and her friends have reached the eerie structure they spotted at the start of their journey, all in a desperate bid that it will provide answers to their ordeal... and perhaps a way home.

Here, the survivors will finally learn the truth behind the rift.

And here they'll encounter a monster far deadlier than anything they've faced yet.

Recently started a Google form to track drop in library visits from study halls and other classes. This is both for security and also to make sure that the library is being used. Yesterday, I saw about 150 kids with seven classes and had almost 300 drop ins for books, technology questions, and Chrome Books. It was a decently busy day. We checked out 346 books!
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Anya and the Dragon definitely sounds like it has potential. I do like the cover, though it's too bad it doesn't actually represent Anya.