Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE DRAGONS OF DARKNESS by Antonia Michaelis


by Antonia Michaelis & translated by Anthea Bell

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8109-4074-1
Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Once upon a time there was a timid German boy whose idolized older brother was kidnapped by Maoist rebels in Nepal. Once upon a time there was an invisible prince of a mountain kingdom, whose mother lay forever sleeping in a hidden garden while the king grieved beneath a glass dome. Mysteriously, Christopher and Jumal make contact and join forces with a beautiful revolutionary to dare icy mountain peaks, treacherous generals, vicious guerrillas and even the surrealistic menace of the titular dragons, who drain color and life from the land and whose shadows turn humans to bronze statues. Lush prose, gloriously rendered by master translator Bell, weaves current events and fairy-tale archetypes into a dreamlike fable that displays a palpable love for Nepal in every telling detail. The sharp and vivid personalities of the two unlikely protagonists and the strength of their impossible friendship anchor even their most phantasmagorical adventures. The occasional coy authorial asides may jar and the ambiguous conclusion may frustrate, but the themes of courage, sacrifice and identity will hook readers completely and send them scurrying to learn more about the exotic setting. (Fantasy. YA)