Rafi does not want to go with them, and instead, strikes out on his own to find the truth of the matter. As coal-powered factories are becoming more common in cities, dragons have been disappearing. On his journey, he meets the tenacious Maud, a dragon scientist who is determined to study them. Together, and accompanied by a herd of goats that follow Rafi, they must uncover what is happening to the dragons, as well as Rafi’s own identity.
What I loved: The message here is fantastic- being different can be a good thing, and it doesn’t make you any less than anyone else. Rafi is a sympathetic character and he’s a great lead as he sets out to discover who he really is. Maud is also fantastic, a female scientist who is very clever and bold. Combined, they make for an unbeatable duo. The mystery lying under the surface about the dragons is also a fun theme that makes the pages turn quickly.
What left me wanting more: As a small point, the villain (Mister Flitch) was a bit cartoonish at times, and it was unclear what motivated him beyond the abstract idea of power. I think it would have been interesting to make him more multi-dimensional, but this is a middle grade, so the story remains simpler this way.
Final thoughts: Overall, this is a fun and fast-paced middle grade fantasy which keeps the pages turning quickly. Presenting being different with dragons is a really great way to address a relatively common concern among this age group. Recommended for audiences who love dragons and fantasy novels across a broad age range.