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Reviewed by Maria Beltran for Readers' Favorite
Dragon Quest by Nora Ryan unfolds as some young dragons face the trials of advancing in the Dragon Academy. Among the students are best friends Soot, Ember, and Spark. Ember and Spark have no problems flying and spurting their fire on target. Soot, however, has small wings and is unable to control his fire spurting. The final test for the dragons is to join in the games during the Festival of Phoenix and go on a quest to fulfill their individual missions. Those who complete their quests successfully will be immediately drafted in the dragon brigade while those who fail will have to assist Professor Blaze until the next Phoenix. As Soot nervously goes through all these challenges, his mother shows him his missing father’s dragon pouch where he found his father’s claw nail, that firmly attaches to his. This means that his father is still alive. Indeed, Soot and his dragon friends are in for the most interesting adventure of his life.
Nora Ryan’s Dragon Quest is fast paced, interesting and thought-provoking. It is written for children aged eight to ten and is thus an easy read for adults. On the other hand, it is a story that should be read by teens and adults as well, to remind them of the things that are most important in life. As Soot struggles to become a member of the dragon brigade, he learns that how one wins a contest is more important than winning the contest itself. And this is a lesson that many adults have forgotten today as they face the challenges of surviving in our materialistic world.
The lesson in this fable is relevant and timely. The plot is simple and well developed and the characters are fascinating. The author’s writing style is quite visual so it is easy to imagine the dragons practicing their flying and fire spurting, and going through their adventures. With protagonists like dragons, glomgoyls, tiger lizards, shoogies, and giant red spiders, Dragon Quest is an exciting read!