Sunday, December 31, 2006

No Fairy Queens Dancing In This One

As a general rule, if I'm going to read a book about elves or other creatures of that nature, I prefer that they carry weapons. If I'm going to read about dragons, I want them to be destroying major cities. I don't really care for the trappings of what I think of as high fantasy. Fairy queens make me cringe.

The Last Dragon by Silvana de Mari includes a lot of high fantasy trappings--elves, dragons, dragon eggs, cryptic prophecy, a sword, a great many beans, hunters, and orphans, to name a few--but, unlike many fantasies, it doesn't take them all that seriously. Our dragon is something of an anti-hero, with a jaded outlook. And we first meet our elf when he is a clueless (and I mean clueless) child whose ineptitude and innocence draws the pity of two travelers who expected to hate him.

The storyline meanders a bit, with the elf Yorsh separating from his human companions in order to put in a long, long, trying period as, you might say, a midwife and then meeting up with his friends' daughter years later. She has fallen on hard times, and Yorsh isn't exactly the prince she's been waiting for.

The writing style is elegant with some sophisticated vocabulary in places, so this may be an elf and dragon story for kids in the upper end of the middle grade spectrum.

1 comment:

Kim Baccellia said...

Yes, this book surprised me too. When I first picked it up and read the cover blurb about a prophecy, I thought, "Oh, no here we go again." But then I started to read the book and really enjoyed it! I'm going to lend my copy to my nine-year-old neighbor. I know she'll love it too.