Friday, April 30, 2021

Dragon Guides

Mull, Brandon and Dorman, Brandon (illus.)
Legend of the Dragon Slayer: The Origin Story of Dragonwatch
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

In the kingdom of Selona (hand maps at front of book), there are lots of problems. When a gorgon is keeping land from being drained and used, the king asks for volunteers to kill her and allow development to happen. There are few takers, but eventually Konrad comes forward. The cobbler's son is not the most likely hero, but he manages to dispatch the creature and earn his reward from the king. When a yeti threatens another part of the kingdom, he takes care of that as well. When a vampire and phoenix become problematic, Konrad is now the go to to slay the creatures, whom we see in beautiful, full-color illustrations. He is celebrated in songs and stories, and wins the hand of the princess in marriage. When a dragon threatens the kingdom, he hesitates, and confesses why. Will he be able to conquer the dragon and continue will his idyllic life in the kingdom?
Strengths: Fans of Fablehaven (2006) and Dragonwatch (2017) will be thrilled with this back story in a volume that is similar to The Caretakers Guide to Fablehaven (2015) in formatting.  This reads very much like a classic fairy tale, with the medieval setting, hero's journey, and creatures from a number of different mythologies. There's a clever twist that I saw coming that younger, less world-weary readers won't. The end of the book gives profiles of famous dragon slayers who formed a group that eventually became Dragonwatch. 
Weaknesses: While this was a fun story on its own, I struggled to see how it connected to the Dragonwatch series until the very end. Since my students who read these books have memorized the minutiae, it will not trouble them at all. 
What I really think: This would be a great gift for readers who are very avid fans of the series. I want to see how large the book is before deciding to purchase it. It's absolutely beautiful, but if it is a larger size (which the $19.99 purchase price seems to indicate), the plentiful color illustrations might not hold up well in a library setting. Both series are still popular in my library, but most readers tend to be more interested in the novels than in the guides.  

Sutherland, Tui. Forge Your Dragon World: A Wings of Fire Creative Guide 
May 4th 2021 by Graphix; Workbook edition
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

This is an overview of how to go about crafting a story similar to the Wings of Fire books. It's part graphic novel, and part workbook, with spaces to write down ideas. There are lots of good ideas for putting together ones own story, including illustrating it. I have a rabid fan base for this series, but given the workbook nature of the book, I don't think I will purchase. 

From the publisher:
Write your legend, draw your destiny, and take flight!

The legend starts with you!

Do you love to draw or write? Do you have your very own dragon stories to tell? In this official Wings of Fire journal, you'll design awesome characters, imagine new adventures, and forge YOUR fantasy world!

With examples from Wings of Fire graphic artist Mike Holmes, Tui T. Sutherland guides you through the #1 New York Times bestselling Wings of Fire series in a more interactive and exciting way than ever before.

Spread your wings with your very own graphic story creation!

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