MG Debut with Dragons!

Rise of the Dragon Moon by Gabrielle K. Byrne

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

Summary from NetGalley:

The princess of a frozen queendom fights to free her mother from the clutches of terrifying dragons in Rise of the Dragon Moon, a middle grade fantasy debut from Gabrielle K. Byrne.

Princess Toli may be heir to the throne, but she longs to be a fierce hunter and warrior. Alone in a frozen world, her queendom is at the mercy of the dragons that killed her father, and Toli is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family.

When the dragons rise and seize her mother, Toli will do anything to save her—even trust a young dragon who may be the only key to the Queen’s release.

With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes the treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail, and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger might be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.

ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review.

Let’s start off with that absolutely gorgeous cover! I love it and I know it will attract a lot of readers to it. It really gives you an overall feel of the book too. This is a book full of adventure and of course dragons. It has a strong female protagonist, who is also feisty and brave.

Toli is the sole narrator of this story, and it was a delight to spend time with her. She has her flaws, she was deeply affected by her father’s death, which she feels guilty about as well. She is not afraid to stand up for herself when it counts, and is very brave to undertake the journey to the mountains on her own. Toli is surrounded by many caring adults, who would have been happy to help her, but of course she doesn’t go that route. She does grudgingly accept the help of her younger sister and friend Wix, and it was a good thing she did too. They both contributed a great deal to their survival on the trip. I really liked both of these characters as well. They were a great support for Toli on her journey.

The world this story is set in is very interesting. It is similar to the Arctic, in that it appears to be frozen all of the time, with very little sunlight. I was a little bit confused with the references to the Daughter Moon and the Father Moon. Were they both moons? or was one of them a sun? There is nothing mentioned about a sun, but the Father Moon seemed like that was what it was? A little confusing. But otherwise a very creative and well done world, with interesting creatures and plants to populate it.

Which brings us to the dragons. They were very fierce creatures, with their own culture and issues. There were some very evil dragons and some that seemed to be good, and of course some that you are never quite sure about, like the Queen Mother. They all had very distinct personalities, which I really enjoyed. Little Ruby, the baby dragon Toli finds and rescues, was just adorable. Being a baby she had no clue about the issues between the humans and dragons. So she attached herself to Toli, because she was kind to her. Loved the relationship that developed between them.

The overall plot and writing were good. The pacing and flow were good. I had a hard time putting the book down as I was just as excited as the characters about the journey and how everything was going to work out in the end. There were a couple of instances where the narrative stalled or got confusing, but for the most part the writing was quite good. The plot kept you invested in the characters and the outcome of the story as well.

This is a stand alone, but the ending was open ended enough for there to be a series. I certainly hope so. I would love to see how Toli grows into her new role and what happens to her and the dragons. A good debut middle grade book that will be enjoyed by many dragon fans.


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