A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dragonet Prophecy is the first book in the bestselling Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland, one of the writers in the Warriors series. While the cover looks like one of the cute characters from The Land Before Time sprouted wings, it's a bit deceiving. The main characters are these young dragon buddies hoping for peace, but the world they inhabit is a violent one. They're raised by abusive caretakers who almost kill one of the young dragons they deem not useful, a mother rejects her son when she meets him, and many dragons die or are maimed in war, in an arena with blood-thirsty spectators, and in fights: Eggs are dropped; wings, necks, and other body parts are ripped through with claws; a poisonous tail stabs through a skull; a neck is snapped; acid spray eats away faces and bodies; a flightless dragon is picked up and dropped to his death; another is tortured with lack of water until mad and forced to fight. One "scavenger" (human) gets his head bitten off, others run around a dragon banquet with other livestock until they're picked up and eaten, still more are made to fight in the arena.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In A DRAGONET PROPHECY, dragons in Pyrrhia have been warring for nearly two decades, but there is some hope for peace. An organization called Talons of Peace gathered dragon eggs from five different clans and raised the dragonets in secret. According to a prophecy, these dragonets will bring Pyrrhia together again. So for six years Clay, a MudWing, Tsunami, a SeaWing, Starflight, a NightWing, Glory, a RainWing, and Sunny, a SandWing, have been holed up in caves training and studying together with three caretakers who are more drill sergeant than surrogate parent. Tsunami is the dragonet most anxious to leave and see the world and tries to talk the others into leaving. Not everyone is convinced until a special visitor, the dragon who made the prophecy, declares the RainWing Glory dispensable and orders her killed before he returns. An eavesdropping Clay brings the alarming news back to his friends and they decide they must escape. They've barely enjoyed their taste of freedom in a forest before another dragon crashes the party: the cruel Queen Scarlet. Instead of welcoming the dragonets as harbingers of peace, the war-mongering monarch welcomes them into her prison and her arena where dragons fight to the death.
Is it any good?
While the world of different dragon species is pretty cool, sensitive readers may be turned off by the harsh tone of this series start. The main characters in The Dragonet Prophecy -- all not fully grown dragons called dragonets -- are sweet and loyal buddies to each other, but are thrown into this world of to-the-death arena fighting, cruel caretakers (who want one of the dragonets dead!), and family reunions that involve parents not caring at all that their long-lost child has been found. The buddy part sounds perfectly middle grade fantasy, while they rest feels like hopeless dystopian YA fare. It's not the best mix. Just one adult dinosaur as a mentor figure would have made a huge difference -- like Harry Potter had Dumbledore until he was a bit older and could navigate his scary new world on his own.
Maybe as the next adventure ensues they'll encounter some nicer dragons, but the way this war-mongering world is set up, it's not worth counting on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Dragonet Prophecy. Is it easier to watch dragons die in books than people, even if they are the main characters?
How does this dragon lore compare with what you read about in other books? Which dragon clan would you like to belong to?
Will you read more of this series? What do you think will happen to the dragonets as they explore the different kingdoms?
- Author: Tui T. Sutherland
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Wild Animals
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic
- Publication date: July 1, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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