Sarah Prineas’s Magic Thief series is one I’ve loved enough to listen to multiple times, so I was very excited to read her new book, the pages going quickly and happily by after a period where it felt like I was dragging through every book.
Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas. HarperCollins Childrens, 2019. 978-0062665553
Red-haired and pale-skinned Rafi Bywater has always considered the small village of Dragonfell, where he lives with his weaver father and their goat, home. The dragon for which Dragonfell was named collected blue-patterned china, but every dragon collects something different, and no one knows for sure what happened to Dragonfell’s dragon.
Rafi has a spark in his eyes that sets people on edge, so when the decidedly unfriendly Master Flitch comes to the village blaming Rafi for some local fires, the village matriarch tells him to run away and find out what happened to their dragon. New books may be saying that dragons are always dangerous, but she remembers their dragon protecting them. The world has been changing, and factories and coal mining are making it less friendly for dragons. So Rafi sets off, making friends with a young dragon scientist named Maud along the way.
Happily, as Charlotte noted in her review at Charlotte’s Library, while industry that is willing to destroy everything in its path thoughtless is definitely portrayed as bad, it’s also clear that trying to go back to pre-industrial times is not going to happen – what’s needed is a whole new way of approaching the problem, a timely and welcome message. This is a story of self-discovery and hard-won friendships, as well as the clash of magic and industry, with, yes, plenty of dragons, and also comical goats.