Book Review: The Land of Dragor: The Gift of Charms (Julia Suzuki)

*I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Details:

Publisher: Dino Books
Pages: 288
Release Date: 4th September 2014
 

Blurb:
In a secret land, far away from the habitation of man, dwell the world’s remaining dragons, hoping the dragsaur beasts have vanished forever.
Here they try to go about their busy daily lives, but all is not well and their talents are fading. Things change, however, when, from a strange egg, Yoshiko is born – a dragon with a unique destiny.

 Great adventure lies ahead for him, as many challenges must be overcome, leading to a dangerous mission to the human world in attempt to return to the clans their missing magic!

Can Yoshiko make it in time?

Review:

I did want so much to like this book. I read great things about it, but I feel it just did not live up to my expectations. I should also mention that this is more of an MG book than the YA I would normally review, so I did try to take that into account when reading and reviewing.

I found the plot entertaining enough, if not slightly predictable: a young dragon, different from the rest who must cope with bullying and then become better than his classmates to fulfil a secret destiny. It might be a bit well worn but it can make for a good read.

I didn’t, however, find the characters very relatable. They were all a little flat: the bully was full of nasty comments and stands up to his father at the end, the protagonist is initially wound up by him but learns to rise above it. I think a lot of this was in the dialogue, which was quite wooden at times and just didn’t sing to me. I found the dragons too human in their character and habits: why do they need to fry food and write things down in records? I would have been more interested in them having their own way of living rather than it being so similar to humans.

The book spent a good amount of time building up the story and training Yoshiko for his destiny, all of which was enjoyable, if not a little fast paced. So when it came to him fulfilling this destiny, I was surprised to find how easy it was. I know we saw him do a lot of training, but when he flies out of Dragor to find the charms, he flew out, found them and flew back. For a hero’s journey, I’d expect some more challenges and excitement.

Overall I found the whole thing quite rushed and not in depth enough for my liking. I liked the idea and I think with a little more character development and some more exciting plot twists, it could have been a good read.

My Verdict:

My Christmas Book Collection

 It’s a little late but I thought I’d go through the books I got for Christmas and why I’m looking forward to reading them 🙂
We’ll start with top left:
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
I saw this in Waterstones and wanted it immediately just because of the cover (and yes, I know you shouldn’t judge like that but I think first impressions mean a lot to me). It’s already been included in my Top 5 Book Covers.
The Mist by Stephen King
This doesn’t really fit in with the YA theme of the blog but I thought I’d throw it in anyway. I’m a huge fan of horror films and the adaptation of this book is one of my absolute favourites.
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
I don’t think I’d heard of this one before I got it, but my boyfriend bought it because I love fairy tales and Neil Gaiman, and also it is beautifully illustrated.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Another one that I’m not sure really fits in with my YA theme (it’s a comic series) but also another that has beautiful illustrations and sounds right up my street as an epic fantasy/space opera. It’s a library edition and looks lovely on the shelf.
The 100 and Day 21 by Kass Morgan
I saw the adverts for this on E4 before I’d heard of the book. I like the sound of the programme but never got round to watching it and then I found out it was a book series first, so obviously it had to be read before it could be watched.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
If you’ve read any other posts/seen me on Twitter you’ll probably know I’m a pretty big Patrick Ness fan. This one has been on my wish list for a while and is another one with really incredible illustrations to go with it (that cover is so beautifully detailed).
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
This was another present from my boyfriend, who wanted to buy my favourite Roald Dahl book (The Twits) but couldn’t find it in store, so he bought his favourite one instead. Still, I love the story and you can’t beat a bit of classic Dahl.
(I’ve also realised I missed out my Maze Runner boxset from the picture, but I also got the four of them for Christmas and am really looking forward to seeing if they’re as good as the hype. And then I can finally watch the film as well!)
So that’s my Christmas collection and quite possible the last (physical) books I’ll get until my birthday (only a few months away). I’d love to hear what everyone else got this year!