About the Book
Title: Dragon Defender (Dragon Defense League, Book #1)
Author: J.A. Blackburn
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Publisher: Pip & Grey
Number of pages: 242
Recommended age: 10+
Summary (Amazon):For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret . . . Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can't figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter's twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother's disappearance. What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined - where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter's uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it's Peter's turn.
* Finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest *
* My Review *When Peter's twelve birthday reveals a long lost uncle and a mysterious letter, a dangerous quest follows. Peter is a loner, lives with his gran, never knew his mother and until his uncle Dominic arrived, never knew about the existence of ..... Dragons. Those mythical creatures everyone knows are just stories made up for little kids. Or are they.... When Dominic tells Peter he is part of an order called the Dragon Defence League and needs his help in retrieving an egg of a very rare dragon, Peter jumps in. His is however, unaware of the danger he will face, or the number of lives that will be affected for both human and dragon, and ultimately that the mystery of his mother's disappearance will deepen.
This was a fast paced read from the get go. Peter joins with two unlikely side kicks in Xana, a strong willed, and very resourceful girl, who Peter happens upon in the jungles of Mexico when his uncle goes missing. Peter manages to escape with the egg, but he soon realises there are eyes watching him everywhere. The egg draws the attention of danger thugs and thieves, all vying for the much sought after egg. When the egg hatches, Peter and Xana are desperate to return it to the mother dragon, but that turns out to be more dangerous than the thugs. With the help of a young orphan called Mario, Peter and Xana fight of the thugs and Peter manages to calm the dragon long enough to return the baby to its mother. Peter realises he can speak to the dragon, but he keeps quiet as some how, he knows that his new found ability is a secret he must guard with his life. Peter is eventually reunited with Dominic, but truths were spoken to him about his mother during his dangerous quest, truths that he can no ignore. Peter realises he has a destiny he cannot ignore. The Dragon Defence league is in his blood and for Peter the journey continues......
I very much enjoyed this middle grade read but as others have mentioned in previous reviews, there was quite a deal of violence including guns and explosives, which I am very prudish about for middle grade reads. I therefore recommend this for 10+
I give it 4 Stars.
NB: I received a free copy as part of this blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
More Buzz About the Book
"We read an advance copy of this book on kindle earlier this year and our 5th grade son read it twice and is anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Great adventure, really kept our interest reading it together at night. This was one of the kids books I most enjoyed reading myself as well. The characters and the plot are well developed, and appealing to a wide range of kids (both genders). The writing is sophisticated but easy to understand, not 'dumbed down' like many kids books. The subject of dragons was so well crafted that it's easy believe that dragons just might exist, after all." ~ 5 Star Review, Leigh A., Amazon
"Reminiscent of the Fablehaven series (with just the right touch of Harry P.) this middle grade book is both an adventure and a pleasure...Fast-paced and full of wonder, this book takes middle grade readers on a vivid journey from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico; where jungles, ancient ruins and local folklore add to the enchantment that Peter finds when he discovers that dragons are in fact, real. As a former elementary school teacher, my strong feeling is that kids will eat this book whole, and then turn to searching for dragon eggs in their own backyards!" ~ 5 Star Review, Grace W., Amazon
"Dragon Defender was an absorbing action packed read! The author pulls you in from the first page and I'm not sorry to say I read it all in the first day. I'm 33 but still! This is a fun book for a chapter a night with your 5 year old (my son is loving it so far) or for yourself. The characters are well developed so you feel like you're really there, and the dragon is so believable. I'd venture so far as to say I had to remind myself that dragons don't really exist.... or do they?" ~ 5 Star Review, MGC, Amazon