Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dragon shield by Charlie Fletcher

Will and his sister Jo are in the hospital waiting room when the world around them freezes in time, along with everyone around them.  At first it looks like someone is playing an elaborate prank on them, but as they explore it becomes clear that something is going on, something that is too mind boggling to take in - and then they see the dragon!  Will and Jo have just discovered a world they never knew existed, one where the statues of London come to life and move around on their own, a world that Regulars like Will and Jo are never meant to see.  To make matters even worse, Will and Jo seem to be targeted by the Taints, the dragons and other creatures that have statues all over London.  Their only help comes from the Spits, the statues of men and manlike beings who also inhabit the streets of London.  Without realising it, Will and Jo have found themselves caught up in an ancient battle, one that is held in check by the most fragile of agreements between the Taints and the Spits.

When Jo is snatched away, it is up to Will to save her, but when you fell like a coward and a liar it is difficult to be brave - especially when the enemy is all around you and ready to pounce the moment you are least prepared.  Separated Jo and Will are weaker than they are together, but it is only when they are apart that they can start piecing together the pieces of the puzzle - and start to figure out how to bring the pieces together so they can save the rest of the world.  An ancient power has risen from a sleep that has lasted for centuries, a power that wants nothing more than to punish the world for centuries of forced oblivion.  Jo and Will may be all that stands between the power and what it wants - and they are very ill equipped for the battle ahead.

Dragon shield is the first book in a new trilogy from Charlie Fletcher, who has previously introduced us to the world of Spits and Taints in his previous trilogy of Stone heart, Iron hand, and Silver tongueDragon shield is written for a younger audience than the original trilogy, but the same creative energy that drove the Stone heart trilogy also drives this series, albeit with a slightly easier reading level and a shorter novel.  The world created by Fletcher is unique and intriguing - how many times have you walked past a statue and really stopped to look at (or stopped to see if it is exactly the same as the last time you saw it). 

The realism and thought that has gone into this world made me look at statues differently, and what makes it so creepy at times is that this is our world, not some far flung place of pure fantasy.  This was the start of statues being a little creepy, made much worse by the weeping angels of Dr. Who fame (shudder).  This is an imaginative and engaging start to a fabulous new series from a fresh voice in the fantasy genre, a read you can really sink your teeth and your believability into - this is a fantasy for the reader who loves adventure and mystery, with a dash of magic that could be just around the corner.  Hopefully the rest of the series lives up to the promise of this first outing.

If you like this book then try:
  • Stone heart by Charlie Fletcher
  • The eighth day by Dianne K. Salerni
  • Maddy West and the tongue taker by Brian Falkner
  • The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari Sutherland
  • Pangur ban the white cat by Fay Sampson
  • The star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
  • 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
  • The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
  • Ella enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  • Museum of thieves by Lian Tanner

Reviewed by Brilla

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