Twelve-year-old Ember tries to save ice dragons and learns her own strength along the way.
Infant fire dragon Ember is discovered in Wales by Lionel St. George, a brilliant but error-prone Stormancer and Magician, near the bodies of her slain, fire-dragon parents, hunted down for their valuable scales. To protect her, Lionel casts a spell to disguise Ember as a human child, and she grows up at Chesterfield University, where Lionel teaches. In human form, Ember has the fire dragon’s ability to create fire, but she can’t control it. Distraught after she burns Lionel’s office, Ember decides to live in Antarctica at the research station Lionel’s sister runs. Fawcett’s story starts out slowly, with a tad too much explanation, but the plot picks up intriguingly as Ember, homesick in Antarctica, is befriended by Nisha, the child of one of the station’s scientists, and the mysterious orphan Moss. When Ember learns that there is to be a Winterglass Hunt to kill ice dragons for their scales, she is horrified and determines to sabotage it. Neatly sidestepping tropes and templates, Fawcett’s story is full of original details that add depth to the fairly straightforward plot (Montgomery, the enchanted, cantankerous doorknob, is a hoot). But it is the richly nuanced primary and secondary characters, as well as the evenhanded inclusion of females as intelligent scientists, that give the story its richness. The cast is racially varied; Ember, her adoptive family, and Moss read as white while Nisha has brown skin.
Fresh and original. (Fantasy. 9-12)