Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms
by Julia Suzuki
Rating: 4/5


Pages: 288 pages in paperback
Publisher:  Dino Books
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 9781782199243

Summary (via Goodreads)

In a secret land, far away from the habitation of man, dwell the world's remaining dragons -- hoping the dragsaur beasts have vanished forever. Here they try to live their daily lives, but all is not well and their talents are fading.

Things change, however, when, from a strange egg, Yoshiko is born - a dragon with a unique destiny.

Great adventure lies ahead as many challenges must be overcome, leading to a dangerous mission to the human world in attempt to return to the clans their missing magic!

Can Yoshiko make it in time?  

Review (Possible Spoilers)

Okay so I don't normally review books designed for younger audiences but I decided to make an exception when I got a twitter notification from Julia Suzuki asking for volunteers to review her book. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Dragons so The Gift of Charms intrigued me.

The Land of Dragor is not completely dissimilar to our own. Dragons live there peacefully, now separate to humans. Yoshiko is a young dragon with a big secret he is truing to hide from his fellow younglings (young dragons)...he can change colour. Yoshiko meets an older Dragon who doesn't think his abilities to be a curse, but a gift, a gift that will help all Dragons. Through his lessons Yoshiko learns his true abilities and realises his mission, a risky mission he was literally born to achieve.

I won't go into any more detail as I don't want to give too much away. So now for the actual review. I have to admit that initially I wasn't sure about this book. The reason for this was due to the fact the Dragons seemed too domestic (eating with spoons and bowls, going shopping.etc). My problem with this was that for me Dragons are always imagined to be like there are in The Hobbit, Eragon and even in Merlin. However, after getting past this I began to give way more to the story.

I found the characters to be intriguing in how each represented a different "breed" of Dragon. Julia Suzuki is very clever in this aspect of her book as the story now took on a new undertone in terms of how we react to someone different. Yoshiko wasn't like any other Dragon, therefore was marginalised and made to feel like he had to hide his secret from everyone else, even his parents for fear of  being called names and bullied. This undertone isn't resolved in this book, but is something I assume is carried on into the next one. However what A Gift of Charms does achieve is the acquirement of self-worth. Yoshiko learns to appreciate himself for his differences rather than hating them.

I would recommend this book to younger readers, or lovers of young fiction due to the fact not only is it an imaginative story, full of fantasy and wonder but also shows that being different should be celebrated. Suzuki has invented a world that is incredible. Hope you enjoy it!

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