#791 – The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading

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dragn of the month club cover
The Dragon of the Month Club
by Iain Reading
2/22/2015 (originally 12/18/2014)
978-1-50563366-4
236 pages     Ages 8—12

“[This is] the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinary magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of very special and exclusive club—The Dragon of the Month Club. On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month.

“But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler’s messy bedroom. Traveling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.” [back cover]

Review
Ayana and Tyler meet at the local library, way back in the dusty forgotten books section. There an old book is found, simply called “The Book.” In it are spells for conjuring dragons. Soon, Ayana and Tyler have conjured their very first, Splashy, a water dragon. As the tiny dragon flutters its wings, water flies everywhere. A comical first start to what will become their dragon collection. Having successfully conjured a dragon, the kids are invited to join the Dragon of the Month Club, with new dragon spells arriving on the 13th of the month. That just happens to be today. December’s new dragon spell is for the wise, objective “Review Dragon.” (Okay, I made that up.)

When Ayana and Tyler conjure a small steam dragon, Vapor, bubbles lodge in Tyler’s nose making him sneeze. This sneeze causes a chain reaction, pulling Vapor, Ayana, Tyler and several books lying about the room into a new world based on Tyler’s bedroom—“The Book World.” Here, the kids must escape a German character known to cut off the thumbs of thumb-sucking kids, sail a shark-infested ocean, and cross a sandworm controlled desert to find the man who Tyler believes can get them home: Professor Mobius from the science book series Tyler reads. But a final twist turns the kids’ world upside down once more.

Ayana and Tyler are characters kids will enjoy. They are well-rounded friends who are resourceful and inventive. Their dragons are cute, loyal, and trusting. Quickly, each dragon connects with both kids. When Dune Buggy is traded for a debt owed the Fremen, the sadness of losing this dragon is easily felt. The Book World is full of intrigue and danger, making for an exciting and unpredictable story.

There are a couple of problems. The directions for conjuring a dragon are very specific, with step one always being “Name Your Dragon.” Interestingly, when a last minute fast conjure of the waterfall dragon is needed, it is accomplished without step one. A magical spell needs all of its steps, just as prose needs fully edited for punctuation. Little details like this stick out poorly, as does the incomplete editing. Kids, and reviewers, notice these things.

Then there is the story of the wolf. While imaginative and instructive, this proverb neither propels the story forward nor enlightens the reader. It is simply dressing on a story that needs none. The same holds true for Tyler’s infatuation with Sherlock Holmes, which side-tracked the story, though in the end, Sherlock gets the kids back on track. Why does Tyler feel Sherlock needs his help to solve crime? He doesn’t. What this snippet does do is stroke Tyler’s ego, but why?

I was a little disappointed in the direction the story took after setting up the bullies and harassment Ayana suffers on a daily basis. I was hoping these dragons of the month would help Ayana address her bullies, but instead that story was set aside for the imaginative book world. Hopefully the author will get back to Ayana’s distressing “real world” problems.

Illustrations would have been a terrific addition to The Dragon of the Month Club. In middle grade novels images are still accepted and often expected. The Dragon of the Month Club’s unusual dragons and Book World are a treasure trove of opportunity for an illustrator. Images could greatly enhanced the story and the reader’s experience.

Criticisms aside, Iain Reading has an interesting voice. He knows how to tell a story and keep kids interested. The Dragon of the Month Club is an ambitious story, full of excitement, unforeseen twists, and an imaginative world. Kids will enjoy the various dragons Ayana and Tyler conjure and the interesting abilities each dragon possesses. A snarky epilogue titled, “Welcome to the Real World,” forebodes the unexpected final twist and the end of book one. Will Tyler and Ayana find their way back home or be forever stuck in Tyler’s alternative bedroom? Book 2 cannot be released soon enough.

THE DRAGON OF THE MONTH CLUB. Text copyright © 2015 by Iain Reading.

Purchase The Dragon of the Month Club at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound Books.

Find The Dragon of the Month Club on Goodreads HERE.

Meet the author, Iain Reading, at his website:  http://www.iainreading.com/
Facebook         Twitter          @IainReading

Book Websites

The Dragon of the Month Club:  http://www.dragonofthemonthclub.com/
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency:  http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/
The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire:   http://www.wizardsofwaterfire.com/

Also by Iain Reading
The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire Series
Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Full Disclosure: The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading , and received from Iain Reading, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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