Conditional Recommendation: Told from the perspective of Clay the MudWing, the dragonets of destiny come out of hiding and enter the world only to discover it more dangerous and violent than they were expecting.
Welcome to the fantastical world of dragons! This book and the series are a really enjoyable, fun read with interesting characters, intriguing plots, and awesome world building. I loved the imagination displayed in each tribe of dragon, their differing cultures, attributes, and their kingdoms. It’s truly engaging and fascinating—a great middle grade fantasy read.
The seven dragon tribes have been at war for generations, locked in an endless battle over an ancient, lost treasure. A secret movement called the Talons of Peace is determined to bring an end to the fighting, with the help of a prophecy—a foretelling that calls for great sacrifice. Five dragonets are collected to fulfill the prophecy, raised in a hidden cave and enlisted, against their will, to end the terrible war. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. And when the select five escape their underground captors to look for their original homes, what has been unleashed on the dragon world may be far more than the revolutionary planner intended.
The select five consists of Clay the MudWing, Tsunami the SeaWing, Glory the RainWing, Sunny the SandWing, and Starflight the NightWing. Every one of these dragonets is excellently characterized—each speaking, acting and reacting in their own individual ways. Each book in this series is told from the perspective of one of these dragonets and the first is Clay. He’s big-hearted, loveable, sweet, caring, and has such a strong sense of family that he’s willing to do anything, no matter the cost to himself, to keep his family of friends together and safe. He is the glue that binds them, the calming voice that keeps arguments from getting out of hand, and the one willing to sacrifice for the better of everyone else. After reading the entire series, I think Tui T. Sutherland made the best choice as to who to tell the first story.
There will be new characters in each book and a lot of them weave in and out of the series storyline. In this book, the dragonets get a close up encounter with the character of the violence-loving queen of the SkyWings, Queen Scarlet.
Though this is a world of dragons, humans do play a part. The dragons call them “scavengers” because they are known to steal dragon treasure and they’re seen as being on the same level as prey and of little intelligence. This ideology is questioned as the dragonets spend more time around scavengers throughout their travels.
Family is a strong theme throughout this book (and the entire series). Each dragonet dreams of the family they never knew and longs to find them and be reunited with the dragons who love them. Each book is another dragonet’s journey to discover their parentage, visit their homeland, and learn about the culture of their own tribe. Clay’s journey and discovery is the briefest of the dragonets but, as you will see, it fits. The dragonets learn that whether or not they have parents and a home with their tribe, they will always have a family with each other.
There’s very little magic in this series. Dragons that can perform magic are called “animus dragons” and they’re rare and none of the main characters are animus dragons. The magic is also very restricted in this world. The more magic an animus dragon uses, the more of themselves they lose and if they do too much magic they’ll eventually lose their minds.
There are objects enchanted by animus dragons such as the “dreamvisitor” which is a stone that allows the holder to visit the dreams of dragons they know.
This book has some brutal dragon violence in it, amplified by the gladiator-arena style of the SkyWing Queen’s entertainment of choice. It almost turned me off the series but it turns out this is the most violent book of the series. That being said, I think Tui T. Sutherland picked the best dragon to introduce the violent dragon world to the reader. Clay’s simplicity and kind-heart softens the violence and puts it in the right light. Clay—and the other dragons—react to unnecessary violence with revulsion and horror, as they should. The violence in this first book is needed so the rest of the series has someplace to go. It serves as a launching point for the characters to see how the world currently is (violent) and what it can be (peaceful) which then becomes the motivation for the dragonets to take action.
As you can see from the summary, this is the first book in the series and the plot is primarily around the dragonets coming out into the world and discovering reality beyond what they’ve been told by their guardians and the scrolls they read. The larger plot of the series is just getting started and unfolds more and more with each subsequent book.
The Brightest Night (#5)
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