Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dragon on trial by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Dragon on trial is the second book in the Menagerie series and this book review contains ***SPOILERS*** because the action picks up right where the first book in the series left off.  This is a series where it is highly recommended that you read book one before you read book two - so check out The Menagerie before reading any more of this review!

It was a huge relief for Logan and his new friends Zoe and Blue to find all the griffin cubs and have them back in the Menagerie before the dreaded SNAPA inspection, but now they have even bigger problems to deal with!  Someone snuck into the aviary and killed Pelly, the (completely annoying and self obsessed) goose that lays the golden eggs.  It is a huge shock for everyone, not only because it is Pelly's golden eggs that help keep the Menagerie afloat, but also because it looks as though one of the dragons is to blame for her death.  Scratch is not the most likely of villains, but he is definitely keeping a secret and looking guilty about something - not a good thing when you are on trial for murder and the penalty is a visit from the executioner.

It is a race against time for Zoe, Logan, and Blue to find out what really happened to Pelly and clear Scratch's name in the process.  But there is more than one mystery floating around the Menagerie, and Zoe's older brother Matthew is keeping secrets from the rest of the family.  As Logan learns more about the Menagerie and meets more of the mythical creatures that call the sanctuary home, he also realises that his father is also keeping secrets from him, secrets about his mother.  As Logan and his friends race against tie to save Scratch, Logan learns more about his new world, and learns that maybe he had more in common with his mother than he thought  because Logan is showing a natural talent for Tracking that could lead him deeper into the world of the Menagerie.

Dragon on trial is the second book is the sequel to The Menagerie and leaps straight back into the story without a pause - not a bad thing when you have read the first book recently and the action is really well paced, but maybe not so great if you have to wait a while between books!  The world of the Menagerie is well defined and has some amazing characters, including all the mythical creatures that call the Menagerie home.  Who would have thought that unicorns could be so snooty, or that a yeti would weave fabric from his own hair, or that dragons would sound a little like Yoda - it is always a pleasure to read the characters words and actions and have them leap off the page (even though I think I would stuff Pelly back into the book even if she offered to pay me in golden eggs!).  Rather than being a gimmick, the mythical creatures are characters in their own rights, and they bring this charming story fully to life.

There is a conspiracy in this book, there were hints in the first book, and in the second book that conspiracy comes out of the shadows a little bit - or at least one of them does.  It is fantastic to see a book for children that is so well described, with a complex and engaging story that makes you think about what you are reading and what is happening - a chance to try and figure out what is really going on.  That sense of world building and mystery is balanced with a sense of fun and a great sense of humor as Logan, Zoe, and Blue make some assumptions with rather hilarious results.  I can't wait to get my hands on book three to see what adventures they will face next.  A great all round read for boys and girls of all ages.

If you like this book then try:
  • The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • The world around the corner by Maurice Gee
  • Into the land of the unicorns by Bruce Coville
  • Pangur ban the white cat by Fay Sampson
  • Stone heart by Charlie Fletcher
  • Red rocks by Rachael King
  • The mysterious howling by Maryrose Wood
  • Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
  • Northwood by Brian Falkner
  • Finding the fox by Ali Sparkes
  • Hollow Earth by John Barrownman and Carole Barrowman

Reviewed by Brilla

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