9 January 2014 (E-Book)
Ten-year-old Andy Smithson believes he is merely a kid too often in trouble with his overambitious parents--until his destiny as the Chosen One to break a 500-year-old curse is revealed. Swept away to the land of Oomaldee of medieval times era, he discovers he must collect several ingredients for a magic potion to defeat the oppressive curse that plagues the land, the first of which is the scale of a red dragon. There's just one small problem, he's never battled dragons, except in video games. Armed with only his wits, an ancient sword and a magic key, he must overcome grave peril at every turn before he can even attempt the feat. No pressure, but it's his skill alone that will save - or condemn - the kingdom forever.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first book in a wonderful YA fantasy series. I loved it!
Andy Smithson is a character I liked a lot. He's 10 years old and gets transported to a strange place where a curse has hung over the people of Oomaldee for over five hundred years. Sent on a quest by the King (who believes him to be the Chosen One) to help find the ingredients to a potential cure, he finds himself facing his fears and making friends. However, danger is never very far away and as the quest to find a scale from a red dragon heats up, Andy will have to use all his courage to succeed.
I have been wanting to read this book for some time. I am a huge fan of fantasy tales containing dragons. I started this story and didn't put it down until I'd finished it. I found myself transported with Andy into a world that is continually surrounded by fog. I love the ingenious way the citizens have discovered a way to clear the fog for a period of time (it's rather stinky and kids would love this idea), however it is only a temporary measure and the fog (caused by the curse) returns. I must admit I found it a little odd that the king wore jeans and t-shirts when everyone else was still wearing medieval clothing. However, seeing as this is a fantasy, I suppose most kids would relate better to modern clothing (though I am not sure many kids aged 10 would know who Steve Jobs was, but I could be wrong).
I really enjoyed some of the escapades Andy and his friend Alden get into during the quest. I think I liked Alden (and his memorable neon green hair) more than Andy, as he seemed a little more mature and less prone to whining. However, I also enjoyed watching Andy's character grow as he struggled with many difficult situations and emotions. This story takes the reader on an adventure full of danger, but it also teaches children the importance of acceptance of others, honesty, integrity, perseverance and truth. I am looking forward to sharing this book with the reluctant readers I am mentoring, as I feel this book would help them understand these concepts better. I must admit that the story, which ends on a slight cliffhanger, has left me looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Venom of the Serpent's Cunning, as soon as I can as I would love to know what happens next.
L.R.W. Lee has written a fantastic YA fantasy story that swept me up and carried me away. I love her fast paced writing style, it kept me hooked, and the flow was wonderful. This is the first book I have read by this author but it'll not be the last.
I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 9-12. Boys will definitely enjoy this book, but I think girls would too. I also recommend this book to adults who love reading middle grade YA fantasy. - Lynn Worton
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She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their two children have flown the coop. One came to roost at Microsoft and the other in the Air Force.
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