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Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen

How to Slay a Dragon by Bill Allen
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (228 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Ruuan is a very large dragon.

Twelve-year-old Greg Hart can't slay a dragon. He'd be lucky to win a fight against one of the smaller girls at school.

Now the magicians of Myrth have mistaken him for a legendary warrior, so they've yanked Greg into their world of sorcery and danger. Nothing will stop the people of Myrth from believing Greg will rescue King Peter's daughter from Ruuan the dragon. After all, Greg has been named in a prophecy, and no prophecy has ever been wrong before.

Greg Hart has an active imagination for a boy. He’s not particularly athletic or exceptionally smart. He writes in his journal and creates exciting fantasies where he's the “hero” in some imaginary adventure. He sure never expected to transport from his world to another and find himself ACTUALLY facing a death-defying adventure!

This author has created a very challenging course for his young character who keeps protesting he’s no hero. He takes an ordinary school kid and plops him in another world where witches and dragons and strange creatures live. His assignment: To slay the dragon and save the princess. There’s nowhere to run and if he hides in the wrong place; something might eat him.

Mr. Allen grabs your attention at the very first chapter and keeps Greg running all throughout the book. Young adults reading this will find it easy to stay connected to the characters and interested in what might turn up next in the woods. The author has a very creative writing style. Some creatures are merely odd, some will eat you, and some will kill you just for fun. It’s good that Greg has some friends with him or he’d never make it through.

One aspect I really liked about this story is how the author takes a young man with no self-confidence to speak of on an adventure that helps him grow up and understand he has skills he had never identified as being important. The author also plays word games in the story. How Greg slays the dragon is amazing. This ending will suprise with it's cleverness!

This is a very good adventure that younger readers can enjoy. You might want to use it as a read-aloud book because they may not recognize some of the “punny” jokes included. There is also some violence and danger included in the story which makes it exciting and could be discussed if the child has any questions.

This was Greg’s first adventure and it appears he will be returning to Mryth. This series put me in mind of the Magic Tree House stories. Why not grab a copy of How to Slay a Dragon and then watch for the future books. Greg is an fantastic character you’ll want to follow.

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