Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum

Thomas has a little problem. As in he's short, wee, petite; which is unfortunate considering he's a squire of the realm and it's difficult to be taken seriously as a squire let alone a knight when everyone thinks he's seven instead of fourteen. He does have some things going for him though - he's fast, brave, and he has a big heart. Surprisingly Thomas is knighted, and sent off on his first quest to save the princess from the dreaded dragon queen on the Barren Island (everyone taller is fighting in the war). So off 'Sir' Thomas goes with his trusty sword (that he loses), his jerkin (which is stolen), and his donkey Bartholomew (that he gives away). Perhaps Thomas got himself into a predicament in which he won't survive...

I liked this book, it wasn't anything super surprising or electrifying but it was enjoyable. The plot moved along, there wasn't anything too predictable or off subject, the language sometimes got a little archaic but I'd rather have that then too modern considering that it's set during medival times, and the main character was endearing. It reminded me a little of The Song of the Lioness series by Tamara Pierce. Except not as comprehensive or (to be perfectly honest) well done. Overall though, a bit of all right. Probably for slightly older middle grade readers.

My one complaint, and it's really not that huge of a deal is that the illustrations seemed to contradict the story. The artist is Lee Wildish , who does some really lovely work but just doesn't seem to suit the actual text. If you can't tell from the cover artwork, it's a bit cartoony. Which I think would work except the book isn't really all that light hearted until the very end. The dragons end up looking quite comical and the people all seem to have square bodies, stick arms and legs, and overly-large round heads. Weird. I think perhaps they were trying to make the book appeal to a younger audience through the illustrations, though the actual text might be for a slightly older crowd. Oh well, like the rest of the book - good enough.

This book came out in July.

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