The Dragon Whisperer by Lucinda Hare
Review by Liz Wride
Reading Lucinda Hare’s debut novel The Dragon Whisperer is like riding a dragon. You have to hold on tight during the twist and turns, take time to stop and enjoy the breathtaking view (in the form of David Wyatt’s wonderful illustrations), prepare yourself for the sudden lows, enjoy the soaring heights and make sure you’re not on the wrong end of that fiery breath!
A tale hatched from Hare’s real-life experiences and devotion to all kinds of animals, The Dragon Whisperer follows Earl’s daughter (and dragon whisperer), eleven year old Quenelda. Her best friend is a battle-dragon with the comically cautionary name of Two Gulps and You’re Gone, who she can command through thought alone. Hare offers a headstrong heroine in Quenelda that chooses dragons over dresses, battles over boys and ultimately dreams of joining her father’s side as a warrior in the Stealth Dragon Services.
Don’t be fooled though... just because Hare has chosen a young girl as her protagonist doesn’t mean she has written a book solely for that gender. Yes, the tale flies in the face of books such as Harry Potter and Artimis Fowl that have strong male protagonists, but The Dragon Whisperer contains enough dark magic, fierce battle dragons, and slimy hobgoblins to appeal to young boys.
Regardless of gender, readers will root for the underdog (a young gnome named Root) and wish they had their very own dragon. On the surface, Hare describes the relationship been Quenelda and Two Gulps like that between horse and rider, but the dragons are given such a depth of history and behaviours, that after the book is shut, the reader half expects to see these beasts lurking in local paddocks.
The one letdown of Hare’s work, is that, in marketing it towards children, adults might see it as ‘just another children’s book’ and pass it over. The back cover boasts a ‘9+’ age rating and I urge anyone nine or over to snap this read up. Verdict? A battle-dragon of a book!
Sara from London
I am 16 and I absolutely adored it. It was gripping and the descriptions were so vivid I felt like I was there. I recommend it and I am dying to read the second book. In the end it's whether you like it or not but give it a try.
Sam Jenner from Liss
Not really sure why I did not like this which is not much use as a review I suppose but I suppose the biggest gripe is that it so feels like a huge rip off of the Horse Whisperer. Sure it has dragons and battles but the detail is very lacking and the characters feel false and under utilised. And as for Root - don't even get me started. The best thing about roots is that they are underground and on the whole never seen - that is where this one should be as well. Annoying, contrite and a complete distraction from the main story. In my opinion there are better books to spend your money on. Any of The Spooks Apprentice, any of the Dragon Quest series, The Hidden City and The Ice Crown to mention just a few. But in the end it is up to you. Do you want the tired lame half dead story or the thrilling new adventure?
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