Books by Kate O’Hearn

Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Entering the crowded field of middle-grade high-fantasy series featuring feisty heroines and dragons, this largely predictable first novel fails to distinguish itself from the herd. The setting is a generic rural kingdom where girls are forbidden to read and must marry by age 13. After evil Lord Dorcon torches the family farm and marches their parents and siblings off to serve the king, Kira, 12, and Elspeth, seven, magically able to communicate with animals, evade capture in a cave on a mountain that's home to a rogue dragon and its mate. During their cave sojourn, the girls rescue and raise the dragons' hatchling, but pursued by Dorcon and the hatchling's parents, they flee again, this time to the castle of Paradon, a wizard with an uneven track record. In a second plotline, their brother Dane, whose ambition is farming, is drafted into the dragon-riding arm of the military. Characters—the dragons excepted—are flat. The story comes to life whenever the girls escape, but adult characters repeatedly step in and take the initiative from them, making this an ultimately disempowering contribution to the genre. (Fantasy. 9-12)Read full book review >