Saturday, December 8, 2018

Dragonwatch Book 1 by Brandon Mull

Dragonwatch book 1 (c) 2017
by Brandon Mull
The first Dragonwatch book by Brandon Mull is an exciting continuation of the adventures of siblings Kendra and Seth, who began their adventures in the first book of the FableHaven series. In this story, Kendra is 15, and Seth is 13. This time, the two siblings and their grandparents are dealing with some recalcitrant dragons at a dragon reserve called Wyrmroost. (I'm guessing the spelling, because I listened to the audiobook.) Celebrant, the dragon king and his fellow dragons are tired of being kept in the reserve where they were put by humans because they'd been a danger to the humans in the past (burning, looting, etc.)  The dragons claim that they should have the right to roam free. But the people who are in charge of the reserves, of course, disagree.

I find this story interesting, because unlike many books where the antagonist doesn't have a clear motive for what he does, I can actually see the dragons' point of view. The situation reminded me of incoming Europeans confining Native Americans to reservations. Though the motives are different, and so are the species. It isn't a matter of cultures clashing, or me being greedy for someone else's land. It's about me not getting eaten by something one hundred times bigger than myself. It's about raw survival. So I see the real necessity of keeping dragons away from humans; because from the destruction that dragons can do, I, as a tiny, chewy human, don't want them roaming free. Neither do Kendra, Seth, their grandparents, and others. But Celebrant doesn't like to be confined. While I can see the point of view of the dragons as a group, I really don't like Celebrant. He's a plain all around jerk. I am certain that with his character, he would be a jerk in the best of situations. He's the kind of guy who is looking for a reason to be mad, and if he didn't have the excuse of complaining about being confined to a dragon reserve, he'd find something else to be mad about. I don't see him as a noble but wronged leader, like Sitting Bull, or Crazy Horse. He's just a bad leader all around, and his fellow dragons would be better off picking someone who  wasn't as inherently mean-spirited, and was better at negotiating. He belongs in dragon prison, not leading other dragons.

The book, like Brandon Mull's other books, is very well written, and the characters believable and multi-faceted. I highly recommend it to young readers of fantasy, and to adults as well. It's the kind of book that that can be read and enjoyed by more than just its target audience. And I look forward to the other books in the series!

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