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THE DRAGON OF TRELIAN by Michelle Knudsen

THE DRAGON OF TRELIAN

By Michelle Knudsen

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3455-1
Publisher: Candlewick

Appealing characterization elevates a standard fantasy adventure. Princess Meg’s independent streak saddles her with an awkward secret: Just as a nuptial delegation from an enemy kingdom arrives to cement peace terms, she accidentally “links” herself to a baby dragon. Fortunately, she bumps into Calen, a young mage-in-training, whose boredom with the dry didacticism of his mentor has left him eager to explore more practical applications of magic. When the pair stumbles upon a scheme to reignite political hostilities, their subterfuge becomes a desperate struggle to thwart a murderous traitor. There’s nothing in this story line that the genre-savvy reader won’t deduce by the second chapter, nor is there much innovation in the stereotypes of feisty princess and insecure apprentice. But this familiarity is transcended by the freshness of their voices, as well as the charmingly honest portrayals of family life, the dizzying heartbreak of first romance, the insecurities of loneliness and the rewards of scholarship. While the secondary characters (especially the dragon) remain woefully underdeveloped, the narrative moves at a brisk clip to a satisfying conclusion, with a broad hint of sequels. A promising start. (Fantasy. 9-14)