It’s an old family tale. Once, long ago, his ancestors saved just one dragon from the fierce Vikings, and ever since they have been its keepers and guardians. An ancestor, Daniel Rae, brought it from Scotland to Newfoundland, and it’s there still. Just a story, Gwyn thinks. That is, until a Heritage Fair project leads Gwyn and his sister Maddie to a startling truth: the dragon is real, and now a new generation of Raes must break a centuries-old Viking curse.
Where the original Dragon Seer took us to an exotic, ancient past, the follow-up is firmly rooted in the present day. (The opening chapter provides a brief recap of the first book.) McNaughton’s evocative prose sketches a Newfoundland in some ways not unlike the first novel’s Orkneys — more settled, but still going through a time of great change. Serious-minded Gwyn and his scrappy sister are believable protagonists, and we feel for them as curiosity about an ancestor becomes duty — and, eventually, purpose — as the effects of the Viking curse become clear. The severing of man from dragons is a severing of man from nature, with terrible consequences that will take time and effort to overcome even after the curse is broken. A heavy message heavily delivered, but this is forgivable in an otherwise satisfying read that is rich with themes of change, loss and the responsibilities that come with growing awareness. Recommended for fans of the first novel in particular, but any fantasy fan with an interest in ecology or history will also find much to enjoy.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2012. Volume 35 No. 1.
Twelve-year-old Gwyne Rae is launched on the adventure of his life when he reluctantly takes on a Heritage Fair project to boost his history mark, and, with help from his older sister, investigates the papers of his ancestor Daniel Rae. Together they discover an old notebook filled with writing only they can see and a key that unlocks a secret door in a church. This is the sequel to Dragon Seer.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.