Whimsical, G-rated, juvenile fantasy.
Leisha and John are normal siblings leading normal teenage lives. Their normalcy crumbles, however, when an errant soccer ball sends Leisha tumbling into the heart of an enchanted tree. When John follows, their adventures begin. Considering the circumstances, the kids seem insufficiently fazed, even when they discover they are trapped, or when they descend a set of stairs and find a dragon at the bottom, or when their housecat, Mini, begins speaking English to them. The dragon is, in fact, a dimar, a race of furry dragons endowed with wondrous magical powers. This particular dimar, Mykal Elyot, was transported to the human world four centuries earlier by his mother before she was killed by lightning. John, Leisha and Mykal become fast friends and the children quickly learn Mykal’s history through the “memory stones” his mother left in their tree-cave lair. Mykal, it turns out, is the rightful king of his realm, but his mother was forced to flee with him before he had even hatched because his evil uncle, Shua, murdered his father to usurp the throne. Determined to help Mykal reclaim his birthright, Leisha jumps into a portal linking this world to Mykal’s, leaving John, Mykal and a nosy neighbor little choice but to follow. Once there, they must rely on one another—and on Mykal’s untested dragon skills—to survive against Shua and his hostile dragons. To make matters worse, the other dimars distrust Mykal and flee every time he approaches. Fortunately, Mykal discovers a special protector in his native land. But whether he can rally the dimars and save the land from his uncle’s tyranny remains to be seen. Blue’s prose, while pedantic and slow in spots, otherwise conjures a charming innocence, and her narration remains focused on the small wonders of magic and friendship rather than the overarching backdrop of regicide and oppression. While the teen’s constant bickering and Mykal’s tendency to be a little too literal-minded keeps the reader giggling, the lack of any parallel or subplots deprives the story of dramatic tension and leaves it a little too sequential, even for middle-schoolers who expect more complex fare these days.
A vibrant narrative and a cute story in need of a bit more drama.