January 29, 2007

The Last Dragon

By Silvana De Mari
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

This Italian import is a great combination of fantasy, humor and adventure. Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstri (called Yorsh for short) is an elf, one born lately, as he puts it, in a land where elves are hated and feared by humans for their magical powers, and are even placed in internment camps. But despite this, Yorsh is aided by two humans, Sajra and Monser, who come to love him. When the trio finds a prophecy, they believe it comes to be fulfilled when Yorsh discovers the last dragon and agrees to stay and care for it. But this, which seems to be the end of the story, is really the beginning. For the dragon will give birth to a baby dragon, and Yorsh will discover there is more to the prophecy than he realizes. His new adventure will involve the daughter of Sajra and Monser, the evil judge administrator of Daligar, the freeing of orphans, the once proud history of the elves, and of course, the last dragon and the last elf. This is an enjoyable read from start to finish, with adventure, magic, laughter, sorrow and love throughout. Thumbs up!

January 11, 2007

Fly By Night

By Frances Hardinge
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Mosca Mye is the daughter of Quillam Mye, a famed radical writer, but she doesn't know it. All Mosca knows is her father is dead and she is escaping the small, wet town of Chough with a very protective goose named Saracen and a small-time villain who could charm the skin off a snake named Eponymous Clent. In Mosca's world, all writings not approved by the guild of Stationers are banned. Many years ago, a group called the Birdcatchers had come to power and caused riots and war, book burnings and arrests. Now the different guilds maintain rule, watching each other warily, and keeping their leader, the Duke, under a close eye. With Clent, Mosca travels to the city of Mandelion and is instantly pulled into intrigue when she finds Clent is a spy for the Stationers and the Duke's sister, Lady Tamarind, recruits Mosca to spy for her. Someone in the city has an illegal printing press and is printing radical leaflets. The different guilds are all ready to blame each other, and Mandelion teeters on the brink of war. Mosca is soon surrounded by lies, betrayal, and murder, and must work out for herself who is really behind the troubled times in Mandelion. Is it Clent? The Stationers? The Locksmiths? Mr. Kohlrabi? Mr. Pertellis? Readers will get dizzy from the number of characters, gods, and plotlines to follow. While the density of the book and the number of new vocabulary words may put off quite a few readers, those who persevere will find a complex tale of adventure and intrigue. For the serious reader only!