Friday, July 27, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥: Dragon's Moon by Bent Lorentzen

Release Date: June 3rd, 2009
Publisher: Paladin Timeless (Twilight Times)
Page Count: 135
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

A young dragon beset by childhood trauma and a disability, goes on a quest for his identity and happiness. Enduring severe hardships in the search to find his roots, he ultimately discovers his disability may be a key weapon against a terrifying antagonist. 
What Stephanie Thinks: Elementary and middle grade readers will be charmed by this short, but compelling dragon adventure, and parents will appreciate its elements of bravery, family, love, and self-acceptance as well.

Lorentzen weaves a traditional hero's journey that begins with our main character's birth. Even as an infant waddler dragon, he is unlike his siblings—even his egg was unusual; gold, instead of white—in a negative way. He has a significantly fewer amount of scales, which labels him as "ugly" in his unwelcoming homeland of Nistala, and also a speech impediment, which makes him the biggest joke among his peers. On top of that, his growth rate is much more rapid than anyone else's and by a few months, he's already at adult size, awkwardly towering over the other baby dragons. The scenes where he is ridiculed are tear-inducing, reminiscent of The Ugly Duckling (which is a story that made me cry when I was little!). Lorentzen excels at tugging at readers' hearts by ensuing very human emotions with his mythical characters.

The baby dragon wants nothing but to be beautiful, and to fit in—he's tired of being an embarrassment, especially for his tender, but now impatient mother—so he sets off on a quest to find true beauty. On his journey, he discovers more than he ever bargained for, including his identity, a name, for the first time: Farluna; his destiny and strengths, finally an explanation and purpose to his disfigurement and stutter; and most importantly, his soul mate. On this voyage, he experiences for the first time, what it's like to be loved and what it's like to love himself, and that truly is the greatest recognition any young creature can make.

While the plot is well-organized and its message touching, I couldn't really get into this one. I personally don't think it's "fun" enough for children to read—the prose is quite weak, and at times, awkward and difficult to follow. As an older reader, I could tolerate it, but I can't say I enjoyed it. At times, I caught myself skimming a lot too. I guess I'm not that fond of the high fantasy genre. Lorenzen does create a convincing dragon world, but Dragon Moon's lack of reader appeal and stylistic talent make it sort of a bland read.

Stephanie Loves: "'Laugh until pain can no longer touch you."

Radical Rating: 
5 hearts: Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book. ♥♥♥♥♥