4 out of 4 stars
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Andy is a young boy who has more difficulties than the average middle child. Two years before the start of Becoming the Dragon, he was struck by lightning on a class field trip, and now cannot be near electronics without disrupting them. On an errand to his scientist father’s work, he stumbles into an experiment that accidentally transports him to an alien world. He meets up with the animals and people there, and has an adventure with a dragon, an elf, and a beautiful girl. Andy discovers that he has the gift of magic. His new friends believe that he will have a great influence on events to come.
What I liked best about this book is the writing itself. I had a hard time putting this book down, as there was always something new and fun to discover in each chapter. The descriptions of the alternate world are mesmerizing. The author paints a lush picture of a planet full of fantastic beasts and magical rituals. I enjoyed the way that the author, by way of his own narration, or in Andy’s thoughts, wove in details from the real world. Andy calls the big, cat-like predators, “Cheshires,” when he first encounters them. One group that populates this world is a community of Vikings who came through a portal from, presumably, Andy’s world. Andy's perspective is often funny and offbeat.
I like Andy’s character. He is surprisingly upbeat about his situation throughout the book, which plays against type, given that he is a teenaged boy in a frightening place. This, however did not make him less believable. Rather, his optimism added to his charm. He still had teenage thoughts, such as in his description of a tight outfit worn by a young woman. In addition, Andy’s annoyance with having to memorize spells definitely revealed a young man’s mind, even as he developed amazing talents and maturity in other ways.
The one part of this book that I didn’t like was in the beginning of Part 2. When the new world is first introduced, the colloquialisms and vocabulary of the alien characters are confusing and distract from the story. The cultural norms and customs are portrayed in such a way that is too vague to follow. When Andy and the dragon are added back into the narrative, I could understand the writing better and became once again drawn in.
There were a few errors in the text, such as leaving off end quotes and one sentence that was a fragment. Overall, I still give this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was imaginative and engaging. It was well-written, especially for this genre. The content was of good quality, in both the vocabulary and the humour, I would recommend this book to fans of young adult fiction and fantasy. I look forward to reading the sequels.
Becoming the Dragon
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