Friday, October 25, 2019

Ember and the Ice Dragons

Fawcett, Heather. Ember and the Ice Dragons
August 6th 2019 by Imprint
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ember was rescued by a Stormancer, Lionel St. George, after her dragon parents were slaughtered, and in order to keep her safe, he turned her into a human girl with a glamor that keeps her wings from showing and raises her as his own. Ember occasionally bursts into flames if she is in too much sunlight, and the latest combustion has caused great damage to her father's rooms at the college. He decides to send her to Antarctica to visit her Aunt Myra, who is a research scientist studying ice dragons. Once she arrives, Ember is sent to study with a governess along with two unpleasant twins as well as Nisha. Nisha is quite nice to her, and when Ember saves her friend Moss from a bully, the three become good friends. Ember has a magic door knob that lets her visit her father and open portals in various locations. When Ember finds out that Prince Cronus (the fifth child of Queen Victoria) and his son Gideon are staging another Winterglass hunt, she is appalled and knows she has to do everything she can to sabotage it. She manages to be allowed to go on the hunt and bring Nisha and Moss as her helpers. Once aboard the ship taking them to the dragon grounds, Ember is able to pull off some things that do slow down the hunt, but she is not able to stop it. There are a lot of other political maneuverings going on, and when Gideon is captured by the dragons, Ember feels a need to go after him even though he isn't the most pleasant boy. She and her two friends head to the City of Spires to negotiate with the dragon king to bring Gideon back. Will Ember be able to save the prince and save the dragons, or will the evil prince and his henchman Lord Norfell triumph in their attempt to exterminate the dragons?
Strengths: This was a well-paced fantasy with plenty of dragons, adventure, political intrigue, and aggressive penguins! I was able to follow the story and keep track of the characters despite my chronic fantasy amnesia, which means it is well constructed story. The Antarctic setting is fun, and there's just enough magic (like the transporting doorknob) to support the existence of dragons. Moss' backstory is fun as well.
Weaknesses: I was really confused as to when this took place. Once I suspected the Victorian Era, I was thrown off by Nisha wearing lipstick and rouge. This has some alternate history in it, such as a mention of British America and the extra son of Victoria, but the main focus is the Antarctic setting and the dragons.
What I really think: Rather than buy five copies of every Tui Sutherland Wings of Fire book, I'm adding a number of dragon books to my collection. It's something that the occasional student will obsess over, so it's good to have a core collection of dragon books on hand, and 2019 has had a number of good titles. Will purchase.

Mull, Brandon. Master of the Phantom Isle (Dragonwatch #3)
October 1st 2019 by Shadow Mountain
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

I love the Fablehaven series, and this continuation gets deliciously dark, which is perfect for middle school students who read the first series in 6th grade and then are in 8th grade when they get to this book. So good, but I forgot to take notes so can't remember the details to write a good review. But trust me, your fantasy readers NEED more Mull!

Seriously, I have a student who went on to high school who came back to visit just so he could get his hands on the second book!

Ms. Yingling

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