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Kids Fiction 1539
unique and engaging book with dragons
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EMBER AND THE ICE DRAGONS is a lush middle grade historical fantasy that follows Ember, a dragon who was transformed into a human girl. Ember is the last known fire dragon, as they were hunted into extinction. After her parents were killed, a powerful Stormancer, Lionel St. George, used his magic to turn her into a girl and has raised her as his daughter. He also disguised her wings so that people could not see them. Ember has mishaps when her fire escapes, and taking the opportunity, decides to go to Antarctica to stay with her Aunt Myra, who is part of the scientific expedition there.

In Antarctica, Ember finds some new friends and also a new purpose. Like the fire dragons, ice dragons are being hunted into extinction. The Winterglass Hunt is set to take place with the prince and his son leading the way. Ember works her way into the hunt to try to sabotage it and save the ice dragons from being killed.

What I loved: This book has a lot of humor which will appeal to the middle grade audience. The story is also full of magic and dragons, as well as action/adventure and danger. The story builds slowly which is great for the younger middle grade audience. There is also an interesting theme about extinction and hunting that will bring this real life issue to the middle grade crowd. This ends up being very unique, as I have not read anything quite like it before.

The setting of Antarctica was also unusual and interesting, bringing a new place to the audience complete with penguins and some 24-hour dark days. While it is set in the past, the book is somewhat without time due to the magic of it all, and so appeals to readers regardless of whether they usually like historical settings.

What left me wanting more: As a small point, the book is relatively lengthy for a middle grade fiction, but the pacing is good and the plot interesting.

Final verdict: Unique and engaging, EMBER AND THE ICE DRAGONS tackles the need for protecting endangered species and being different with the intriguing setting of Antarctica and with plenty of magic. Recommend for middle grade readers who are looking for a light-hearted and amusing story about dragons and tenacious young girls (or dragons, in this case).
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