by Cornelia Funke
It was the insistent (not to say shrill) feedback from you loyal readers that forced me to push The Thief Lord
ahead of its slot in my reading-and-reviewing schedule. But even though I immensely enjoyed that book, I balked at paying out full hardcover price for the authors other books, including Inkheart
and Dragon Rider
. No amount of cajoling on your part could change my mind.
What got me to bend, at last, was the cover art by Don Seegmiller. This is really an inspired cover, one of a few illustrations (along with Gris Grimlys cover for The Cockatrice Boys by Joan Aiken) that has made it impossible for me NOT to buy the book. I couldnt hold out any longer!
The cover shows us a beautiful, silver dragon in flight, under a full moon and starry sky, over a snowy mountain range. It is not only a beautiful dragon; it is also one that looks very gentle and good-natured. On his back are not one but two riders: a little boy who looks like hes having the time of his life, and a large catlike creature that seems to be coping as best she can. I already know these characters so well, without having even opened the book! Whats more, I cant WAIT to open it.
Such artists must be STOPPED!
That having been said, I dont know what else to tell you about the book. I dont want to spoil your fun. Just look at that cover art and tell me that you dont want to read it! Go on, take your best shot!
All right, Ill tell you a little bit about it. The dragons name is Firedrake, and he is flying away from the sheltered valley in Scotland where he has lived his whole life, because humans are about to turn it into a reservoir. Somebody has to find another safe place for dragons to live, and no one but Firedrake will do it. So off he flies, searching for a semi-mythical valley in the Himalayas called the Rim of the World. He takes with him his faithful brownie friend Sorrell, who likes to munch on mushrooms and can do amazing things with spit. They pick up a homeless boy named Ben in a big European city (possibly Hamburg, where the author lives). Together, and with the help of several other friends they meet along the way, they face all kinds of dangers and meet all sorts of fabulous creatures, including (but not limited to) dwarves, a basilisk, and a djinn with a thousand eyes. They also endure betrayal, face a monstrous enemy, and learn that rats have a lot of hidden talents. Like Harry Potter, Ben finds himself at the center of a mysterious prophecy, and also overcomes a great many difficulties by the power of love.
So thats it in a nutshell. A big, 206-word nutshell. But you still dont know the half of why, from front cover to back, this is SUCH a fun book to read!
Recommended Age: 10+
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