Have you come across the rather wonderful Dragon’s Green yet?
I’ll admit it – I put off reading it for ages (to be honest, I simply had ‘better’ things in my to-read pile than another children’s fantasy).
Silly silly me.
I read it last week in two long sittings – and I flipping LOVE this book!
Firstly, never underestimate the appeal of a book with a glow-in-the-dark cover (I know!) – we have the hardback as a review copy, and I actually had to steal the book from the daughter’s room, where it glowed gently as she slept.
We’re very fond of fantasy in this house – if a story has magic, a dragon or a strangely talented apprentice in it, then one of us will probably be reading it. So I came to Dragon’s Green with a slightly jaundiced eye, expecting yet another run-of-the-mill fantasy sequence – but to my delight I found it was a genuine joy to turn each page, never knowing quite what was going to happen next.
Fantasy books need a great ‘world’ to work, but Dragon’s Green opens in a very familiar modern Britain. It’s disorienting for a short while – until we find that we’re actually five years after the ‘worldquake’ which brought technology and electricity crashing to a halt. So there’s no internet and no mobile phones, but otherwise seemingly very ‘ordinary’. Effie (Euphemia) Truelove, is an 11yr old with a suitably tricky family life; a selfish father (his character developed slowly and subtly, and made me rather sad) , a missing (presumed dead) mother, a marvellously shallow stepmother, and a grandfather we all yearn to be related to. School’s not much better, and a story which starts rather miserably moves through deeply sad to really just gets worse… and then when Effie is held for detention things start to get really interesting.
I’m sure any suggestion of ‘a bunch of wizarding friends’ will raise a few dismissive eyebrows, but honestly there is nothing here for any reader to compare Dragon’s Green with any Harry Potter book. To me it actually felt like an echo from Inkheart (oh how I love a kids book written with intelligence, with no patronising use of small words), based as it is on the profound love and respect for the deep, genuine magic within books that any of us readers feel in our bones.
The writing is smart, light and genuinely funny (no spoilers, but god love the dragon…), with strong character leads and a slight dream-like mis-match as you bounce between incidents and viewpoints.
You’ll find yourself reading alone with eyes wider open than usual, a small furrow of a frown and a slight “oh!” on your lips. It’s interesting, funny, tense, a little scary, has depths which require a second read, has a huge heart – and utterly, properly magical. You need it on your bookshelf.
And now for the interesting bit!
We would like to offer FIVE lucky winners a signed copy of Dragon’s Green paperback, alongside advanced proof copies of The Chosen Ones, the next book in The Worldquake Series.
To enter, just use the magic widget below – closing date is the 11th of November, and first five names out of the cyber hat win. Good Luck!