(Cover picture courtesy of Open Library.)
Firedrake, Ben, and their furry friend, Sorrel, are in search of the mythical places where dragons can live in peace forever. Together they embark on a journey that takes them to magical lands where they meet marvelous creatures—and ruthless villains. Along the way, they will discover allies in odd places, courage they didn’t know they had, and a hidden destiny that changes everything.
Dragons, brownies and homunculi, oh my! Cornelia Funke includes both traditional and non-traditional fantasy creatures in this exciting, thought-provoking novel. Funke is a well-known author of children’s and teen’s fantasy, but Dragon Rider has been overshadowed by her more popular Inkheart trilogy. In my opinion, Dragon Rider is just as good as Inkheart and it deserves equal recognition.
It is full of clichés, especially since the whole premise of the book is that a trio of unlikely friends (a dragon, a brownie and a human) embarks on a long and dangerous journey to find a mythical place where dragons can live in peace forever. What saves Dragon Rider from being too clichéd is Cornelia Funke’s spectacular writing style and the fact that she puts spins on many of the clichés she uses. Besides, this is a children’s and young teen’s book; most of her readers do not care about clichés.
Since friendship is the main theme of the novel, the focus is more on the characters than the plot. Funke’s characters are very well developed and meet all of the requirements to be memorable, yet she does not neglect the plot to focus on her characters. Therefore, Dragon Rider ends up being the best of both worlds: a fast-paced, character-driven novel.
I give this book 5/5 stars.