Ember and the Ice Dragons
Ember St. George is a dragon. At least she was before her adoptive father—a powerful but accident-prone Magician—turned her into a human girl to save her life.
Unfortunately, Ember’s growing tendency to burst into flames at certain temperatures—not to mention her invisible wings—is making it too dangerous for her to stay in London. The solution: ship Ember off to her aunt’s research station in frigid Antarctica.
Though eccentric Aunt Myra takes getting used to, Ember quickly feels at home in a land of ice storms, mischievous penguins, and twenty-four-hour nights. She even finds herself making friends with a girl genius called Nisha and a mysterious orphan named Moss.
Then she discovers that Antarctica is home to the Winterglass Hunt, a yearly tradition in which rare ice dragons are hunted for their jeweled scales. Furious, Ember decides to join the hunt to sabotage it from the inside.
But being an undercover dragon isn’t easy—especially among dragon hunters. Can a twelve-year-old fire dragon survive the dangers that come her way in the Antarctic wilderness and protect the ice dragons from extinction?
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).