I’ve started to be wary of books given to me for review because so many of them have been lackluster, not really my taste, or just downright terrible. This book is an exception. A fun, fantastical adventure featuring two plucky kids and their collection of magical dragons, I found The Dragon of the Month Club to be highly enjoyable.
Which isn’t to say it isn’t without flaw. The plot itself is very simple, and while the adventures are certainly fun, the problems are lacking any real danger or urgency, and every resolution is incredibly basic. However, this doesn’t really count as a complaint because this is a book aimed at children (late elementary/ middle school age), so of course it can’t be expected to have the same nuance as an adult book. However, the vocabulary seems to be a little advanced when compared with the simplicity of the plot. As a parent I can support the learning opportunity, although I wonder if kids will be frustrated and stop reading if it gets too hard.
Another issue I had with the book is the references it contains. In the story, Tyler and Ayana are magically transported into a world loosely based on Tyler’s bedroom, with areas that correspond to various books he had lying around. I happen to love this aspect of the book, but I wonder if selecting classics like Dune and Sherlock Holmes was the best choice. Those are books that most children have probably never even heard of, much less read, so a little bit of the thrill of seeing well known classic being tweaked is lost. On the other hand, many kids might be intrigued and seek out the books mentioned, which is never a bad thing.
My only real complaint with this book is the ending. It inexplicably titles the final chapter ‘epilogue’ despite having the action continue uninterrupted from the previous chapter, and then it just… ends. It isn’t so much a cliffhanger as it is an abrupt ending to the story that also leaves room for the following book. Obviously, this is incredibly frustrating after having devoted 224 pages to a story, to not have even the slightest bit of closure. I read fantasy series quite often, and I can assure you it is possible to leave room for future books while also granting your reader a satisfactory conclusion. Especially when the next books haven’t been written!!
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, even being 25+ years older than the target audience. I tried to get my kids to try it out so I could offer an appropriate opinion, but alas, their chosen rebellion against their bookworm mother seems to be refusing to read at all. Hopefully other children out there who have already discovered the magic of reading will find this book as fun as I did. Happy reading!
Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for the purposes of review. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions expressed are strictly my own.