Icefire by Chris d’Lacey

(Cover picture courtesy of Chris D’Lacey’s website.)

In the exciting sequel to The Fire Within, David must uncover the truth behind the mysterious clay dragons.  David’s quest is to discover the link between the fire of the last known dragon on Earth and the icy regions of the Arctic.  It’s a journey that will change his life forever, a journey that will bring him to the very heart of the legend of dragons and the mysterious, ancient secret of the icefire…

It’s rare that the second book in a series is better than the first, but this is one of those exceptions.  Now that the story has been set up, Chris d’Lacey is able to focus more on his writing and characters.  And this new ability to focus on the basics of the novel really makes Icefire an excellent read.

David is given a lot more depth than before and he also acts more like a college student than a kid in this book.  We actually get to see him go to college and meet his mysterious professor, Dr. Bergstrom, who is certainly not all that he seems to be.  Mix in quirky and captivating characters like Zanna and “Aunty Gwyneth” and Icefire contains a large variety of characters.  The climax will keep readers on the edge of their seats as new allegiances are revealed and secrets are discovered, but it is the cliffhanger ending that will make readers eager to get their hands on the next book, Fire Star.

In addition to a higher quality of writing and better characters, we learn a whole lot more about the origins of the Pennykettles’ unusual clay dragons.  This detail was neglected in the first book, but it takes centre stage here in Icefire, much to my delight.  I admit that I am way too old to be reading this children’s series, but Chris d’Lacey’s series really is enjoyable for all ages because it has a surprising amount of depth, considering the age of its target audience.  The books grow ever more complex as the series progresses, and for that, I tip my hat to the author for placing trust in his readers’ intelligence.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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