New Dragon City

 
4.6 (3)
 
0.0 (0)
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New Dragon City
Author(s)
Age Range
8+
Release Date
October 04, 2022
ISBN
978-0316376686
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Set off on a high-stakes, action-packed adventure in this story about friendship, survival, and fighting for ones you love, perfect for fans of Wings of Fire and How to Train Your Dragon
No one predicted the dragon apocalypse. The dragons came suddenly and decimated the world as we knew it, including New York City. Now, three years later, Noah, his hardcore survivalist father, and a ragtag group of survivors are barely scraping by in this new reality. Kids scavenge not only for materials in abandoned homes but also for leftover books at the library. Adults spend their time establishing a make-shift society and defending their shelter... with any means available. At least for the few months the dragons are hibernating, until it’s no longer safe aboveground.

Noah has seen the damage these creatures can do firsthand. When it comes to dragons: It's kill or be killed. But a chance encounter between Noah and a young dragon forces him to question everything he thought he knew. With rumors spreading that there’s a group of survivors living in harmony with dragons instead of hiding underground, Noah teams up with his fire-breathing ally to find out if peace between humans and dragons is really possible. But the division runs deeper than scales versus skin because trying to follow his heart might just cost Noah his family too. If Noah and his father can’t see eye to eye, can he really get humans and dragons to?

Editor reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.6
Plot
 
4.3(3)
Characters
 
4.7(3)
Writing Style
 
4.7(3)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
Dragon Fueled Dystopia
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Noah lives with his father in the remains of New York City, in a theater right off of Times Square. Previously, they had lived in the country after a dragon apocalypse that no one saw coming. There is a small group of people who survived, but dragons managed to kill half the population. Dragons are still a threat, but usually only in the summer, and then the group lives underground. When Noah and his friend Maya are attacked by a dragon in April, things are grim. The group makes plans to head underground early, but Noah's father plans to stay behind. Noah's mother disappeared a while ago, and it turns out that she has joined a "dragon worshipping cult". His father hopes to find and deprogram her over the summer, and has made arrangements for another family to look out for Noah. He decides to stay behind, however, and help convince his mother to stay with him. To complicate matters, Noah has had a run in with a young dragon, Asha, who cured his burn wounds, and with whom he has connected. Unfortunately, Noah's father kills Asha's mother, and is gravely wounded in the process. Unable to locate his father, he heads off to Columbia University, where the "cult" supposedly lives, and is reunited with his mother. His father is also there, being cared for in a working hospital, a rarity in this dystopian time. Since Noah has bonded with Asha and was unable to kill a dragon because of this, he understands his mother's community and their desire to try to work with the dragons in some peaceful way rather than trying to kill them all.
Good Points
This was quite different from this author's Dragon Ops books, which has just as much adventure but more of a video game feel. New Dragon City is definitely a dystopia, with limited food and technology, and the ever present threat of killer dragons. Starting from that premise makes it all the more appealing to find sympathetic dragons like Asha who are okay with being friends with humans even after her mother is killed. The enclave at Columbia is quite refreshing, and makes sense: the "uniform" is t-shirts from the college bookstore, and a lot of the people are professors with vegan tendencies! Noah is just glad to have fresh milk and cookies after living off sketchy canned food. The group is surviving, but also trying to see if there is a better way forward, and Noah is glad to help with that despite his father's objections. It's a little unusual to have this much hope in a dystopia, and I rather enjoyed that. Noah is definitely able to help, and work with his family to come to some kind of understanding as well. While the story is wrapped up neatly, I could also see the possibility of a sequel set in the same world.

As an adult, I find myself wanting world building info dumps more than my students. Since I would be in charge of taking care of people, I want to know how exactly they got food. Was there electricity still? Was there any government? There weren't a lot of details like this, because Noah is more concerned about DRAGONS. Which is as it should be. But I found myself being very curious about a lot of things that weren't specifically described.

This is a great choice for fans of Tui Sutherland's Wings of Fire series who also like to read dystopian books. Ford's Forgotten City (2018) duology or Martin's Ark of Extinction (2016) have a similar feel, and if Noah and Asha are back, I imagine that the next book might be a little like London's excellent Battle Dragons (2021)
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Timeless themes and relatable Characters
(Updated: November 13, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I Loved: This book was about dragons and the world after their arrival destroyed everything and how you find your new normal. In many ways, this was more relatable than dragon books usually are to our real lives. Replace dragons with pandemic and there are many similarities. Noah’s family survived lockdown for three years in a bunker before emerging and trying to survive in a world where dragons infest the skies and can kill you at any moment. Most of us can relate a little bit to the boredom, fear, and uncertainty that Noah recalls from the start of the dragon invasion even if we weren’t on lockdown for the same amount of time. His love of reading to cope struck a chord with me and I deeply identified with his character. He doesn’t know where the dragons came from and it doesn’t really matter because they are here to stay now.
Understandably, Noah hates dragons and wishes them dead. He misses the before times and life is a struggle to find enough to eat and safety is always at risk. Every summer they go into the subways of New York with other survivors to wait till the dragons hibernate and it is safe once again to emerge. This is a pretty bleak existence that changes when the dragons come back early.
His dad plans to stay above ground and rescue his mother who went to live in a dragon-loving cult. Noah is determined to help his family be back together and sneaks away from the group so that he can stay as well. From there he meets a young dragon named Asha and they form a bond that can heal the dragon-human war for those in his area. The small steps to build trust and to see the other side’s perspective have many parallels to any two groups that have deep and well-founded grievances against the other side.
Final Verdict: This book is currently very relatable as we all have fairly fresh memories of isolation and lockdown and a different world post-pandemic. It is also timeless in the themes of bridging the divide, building trust, and healing after conflict. The dragons are a nice touch to capture the attention of Middle-Grade audiences and the deeper parallels make for a wonderful book to discuss. The action moves quickly and ultimately it is a book of hope for a better world.
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Humans vs dragons can harmony be achieved?
(Updated: July 30, 2022)
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I Liked:
Are you a reader who loved the Wings of Fire series and How to Train your Dragon? Do you like middle-grade novels that tackle more vital than yourself questions, stories about survival, and a significant overall situation that makes you think, what if? Noah and his father are part of a group of humans who survive the take over of the world by dragons hiding in subway tunnels during the time of year dragons are awake and the rest above ground, scavaging for whatever can be found. Until one day, everything changes, the dragons arrive sooner, the dad decides to stay behind to see the mom, and Noah, desperate to help, does.
Final Verdict:
What unfolds is a story of thinking if what you have always known is true. Who is the monster in this story? Are the dragons more extensive than life and burn the city to the ground? Or is it the humans who hunt and kill dragons all in the name of protection and, let's face it, fear? New Dragon City is a fast-paced middle-grade novel centered around family, truths, and striving for a better path for all. It kept my attention and is well thought out and perfect for middle-grade readers.
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