Category Archives: Middle Grade

The Fire Ascending by Chris D’Lacey

Luna wraps up her Last Dragon Chronicles read-along with the final book, The Fire Ascending.

Title: The Fire Ascending
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles, Book 07
Publish Date: April 5, 2012
Genre: MG Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: The much anticipated final book in Chris d’Lacey’s NEW YORK TIMES bestselling Last Dragon Chronicles!

On Earth, at the battle of Scuffenbury Hill, time has been suspended. Dragons and their natural enemies, the Ix, are trapped in a bitter, unresolved conflict. But at the dawn of history, something is working to change the past — and the future. A mysterious force is rewriting the timelines, turning what was once legend into startling reality. But is David Rain strong enough to save himself and those he loves from being written into a deadly new destiny?

David, Zanna, Lucy, Alexa, and the Pennykettle dragons return, along with some new friends and enemies, to embark on their most dangerous, most thrilling, and most magical adventure yet. Bridging the magic of the first five books with the world and characters introduced in FIRE WORLD, this fiery and action-packed final installment of the Last Dragon Chronicles will have readers racing to the exciting conclusion.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

The story line for The Last Dragon Chronicles is fairly good, especially the first three installments: The Fire Within, Icefire and Fire Star. But as the series goes on, it loses its whimsy and becomes way more metaphysical. I kept finding myself wishing for the silly mayhem and the little clay dragons that may or may not come alive that we saw in the first few books.

As for The Fire Ascending itself, it was my least favorite in the series. It started out interestingly enough but by the twists at the end I was not impressed. It does wrap events up but I feel like it was a cop-out in order to make things come full circle. The big battle between good and evil that I was waiting for never really happened.

I did like that the legend of Agawin and Guinevere goes into more detail – even if it is a different timeline. We get to see the events of the legends from the first few books playout as they would have – for the most part, again we have alternate dimensions and timelines. Upon looking at other reviews for this novel, it appears that most fans are in agreement that the first few novels of this series were the best and many became increasingly frustrated that the events took the turns they did.

While I would give the overall series a 4, I give this novel 2 dragons.

Other recommendations…

…you might try Doomraga’s Revenge by T.A. Barron, Bloodhoney by Paul Stewart, Black Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham

Fire World by Chris D’Lacey

The war of good versus evil rages on in a different reality from the one we know.

Title: Fire World
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles #6
Publish Date: January 1, 2011
Genre: MG Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionCan a fiery creature bring the dragons to a new world?

David Rain, Lucy, Zanna, and the Pennykettle dragons disappeared after destroying a trace of dark fire.

In a world between Earth and Ki:mera, called Co: pern:ica, lives a twelve-year-old boy named David. He and his friend Rosanna spend their days in the librarium, a museum for books, with the curator, Mr. Henry, and the mysterious firebirds that roam the upper levels.

When the two friends accidentally injure one of the firebirds, David and Rosanna find themselves on a remarkable and dangerous adventure. The evil Ix have taken over a firebird, turning it to the side of darkness. The birds have a secret, though: They know about the existence of dragons.

With the help of David and Rosanna, the firebirds must reach across the universe to call on the dragons for protection. But will the dragons arrive before the Ix destroy everything?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…

This installment of The Last Dragon Chronicles is set on another planet—or at least a different dimension—called Co:pern:ica. It is a tad confusing to suddenly be thrown into another world, especially one so similar. I was expecting David Rain and Zana and Lucy and got their characters… only not. It is difficult to explain, and I’m not even going to try.

I missed the dragons, but I loved the firebirds! The reminded me of phoenixes, except these were brightly jewel-colored. Dragons do not play much of a role in this book, and when they do you, are thrown into a whirlwind of confusion.

While this is an enjoyable story, it almost felt like the beginning of a new series and not the continuation of one. Fire World does not link to Dark Fire until much later in the book. For most of the novel, I felt like this was the way things were supposed to go on Earth. But there are a few surprises and a character or two that makes a reappearance (albeit as a similar character and not the actual character—again I am not doing the explanation any justice).

I have to say that this is my least favorite installment. I give it three firebirds.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

If you are a dragon lover, check out these other works!

T*Witches: Seeing Is Deceiving

With Karsh kidnapped, and Ileana trying to rescue him and currently out of commission, the twins are on their own – and coming face to face with their evil, manipulative Uncle Thantos.

Title: T*Witches: Seeing Is Deceiving
Author: Randi Reisfeld
Series: T*Witches, Book 3
Publish Date: December 2001
Genre: Teen Fantasy
Source: Purchased.

Publisher’s Description:

RAVE’N

Cam’s and Alex’s powers are getting in sync, and the twins can’t help themselves. They’re reading people’s minds, using magick on the soccer field. It’s bringing them closer together. But it’s forcing Cam and her bff, Beth, apart.

When Alex sneaks out to an all-night party, she suddenly finds Beth – and herself – in terrible danger. Thantos, the evil one who wants the twins eliminated, has taken Beth hostage. Must Alex sacrifice herself to save her sister and friend?


Kat Mandu says…

 

This one for me just worked out a lot better than the second one. Still has all the silliness and teen lingo of that particular time, but overall, more enjoyable and easier to get with. I’m still having a hard time figuring out all that’s happening with the bigger action scenes – like when Cam and Alex confront Thantos and Fredo at the rave, then things happen and then they’re magically “safe.” It is a younger book but I’m still thrown by the convenience of it all.

Also, you know it’s a kid’s book when THE FREAKING BAD GUY IS INVITED INTO THEIR BEDROOM FOR SNACKS AND “CHAT.” My goodness, these girls are super naive. How do the parents NOT wake up is what I want to know. Whether Shane redeemed himself or not, I’d still probably not let the former Thantos lackey anywhere near me.

I do like that the teens are still trying to figure out their place in the world. Cam, who has found a true partner in twin sister Alex, is neglecting former BFF Beth a little. Then she only makes it worse by trying to help and protect her. Cam desperately wants to meet her real mother, Miranda,

Alex on the other hand, is still struggling with where she fits in with the Barnes family, especially since Emily isn’t necessarily fond of her presence. And now her skeevy dad is filing for custody of her.

All in all, I’m still fond of these characters. I like the silly, I like the serious. Throw in a bit of magic and you’ve got me. Four stars altogether.

Our reviews in this series…

  • The Power of Two
  • Building A Mystery
  • Seeing Is Deceiving
  • Dead Wrong (All Coming Soon!)
  • Don’t Think Twice
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Kindred Spirits
  • The Witch Hunters
  • Split Decision
  • Destiny’s Twins

Other recommendations…
…you might try Daughters of the Moon by Lynne Ewing, Sweep by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.

The Fire Eternal by Chris D’Lacey

Fire. Snow. Darklings!

Title: The Fire Eternal
Author: Chris D’Lacey
Series: The Last Dragon Chronicles
Publish Date: September 6, 2007
Genre: MG Fantasy
Source: Purchased by the reviewer

Publisher’s Description:

A new magic is stirring beneath the surface of the Earth….

Five years have passed since David Rain, now a bestselling author, disappeared mysteriously in the Arctic. And slowly the ice is changing, bears are starving, dragons are rising, the souls of the Inuit dead are haunting the skies. The spirit Gaia, goddess of the Earth, is restless, aching to bring down her might upon these changes. But all living things may suffer if she does.

As the weather grows wilder and the ice caps melt, all eyes turn from the north to David’s daughter, Alexa. She is the key to stopping Gaia…but can one girl save the world from the forces of evil, or will she disappear like her father?


Luna Lovebooks says…

 

Fire Eternal takes place five years after the events in Fire Star. Lucy is the only one who still believes that David is alive and enlists the help of a journalist to get the investigation rolling.  The events at Wayward Crescent are intermixed with expeditions of polar bears in the Artic. The introduction of modern IT dragons made the Crescent scenes/chapters loveable. But I was drawn in by the polar bears and the legends of the north.

This series has been cutesy and, for the most part, care free up until this installment. Here we get into slightly heavier material. We go from a cute middle grade read about dragons into a more adult science-fiction war novel. I feel the introduction of the IX and the time traveling elements will go over the heads of its target audience. I struggled trying to understand some of it and I am an adult!

I do have to say that Gwilliana has become my favorite bad/good guy. She is evil, but she is always doing things that contradict that. There were some surprising twists that I did not see coming!

I feel I have to give this novel 4 scales. 

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

 

I’d suggest other dragon reads – Eragon by Christopher Paolini, How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.

T*Witches: Building A Mystery by H.B. Gilmour

In T*Witches 2, the twins are learning how to deal with their newfound powers – and just in time, for there’s a couple new bad guys in town that are eager to see just how powerful they are…

TitleTwitches: Building A Mystery 
Authors: H.B. Gilmour & Randi Reisfeld
Series: Twitches, Book 2
Publish Date: September 1, 2001
Genre: MG/YA Fantasy
Source: Purchased.

Publisher’s Description:

The second book in the series that inspired the smash hit Disney Channel movie! Although Alex and Cam have exposed some secrets about their past, they still have a lot to learn. Then they meet dark and mysterious Cade. He looks hot, but he seems to have secrets of his own. Could he be connected to their past in some way? Can they hold back the evil that surrounds them?


Kat Mandu says…

 

In this short but sweet sequel, Cam and Alex are back and still learning the ropes.

Cam’s figuring out how to deal with her witchy powers in her own way, not to mention having to deal with the upset of her home life now that Alex is staying for good. Not that she’s too bummed, having someone she can share all her magickal secrets with is nice. Sassy Alex feels the same deep down, but she’s still grieving for her adoptive mother, Sara, and trying her best to figure out her place in this new world.

After Ileana delivers them a message that someone is trying to get to them, the girls have got to narrow down their list of bad guys and come together as sister witches to defeat whoever it is.

Okay, so this one is a little more cheesy and cliche. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad book by any means. It just meant that for me, it wasn’t a favorite. I guess it just seemed sillier to me than it needed to be, but I guess that’s the age they were going for. I just wasn’t fond of all that was happening, especially that very strange, very rushed ending. I know the general idea of what happened, I just don’t know why it had to happen that way and inconvenience the story for no reason at all.

Basically, there’s a lizard-demon thingy and this person wants to take Alex and Cam to their “real mother” and the girls tell him no, so he attacks. But in the process, Ileana comes to the rescue and they have a full conversation with each other in the middle of the battle and well… the whole scene is rather chaotic.

Other than that, it was just kind of goofy. Lots of teenager drama and phrases like “BRB” are often used. The text lingo was really popular when it came out, so I kinda see why it was used. Still doesn’t make it any less annoying.

I think what made this more powerful for me, was again, the characters. I mean, even at the end, Cam wants to meet her real mother while Alex could care less. Despite everything, these girls are very real to me than some of the other more serious YA/upper MG out there now. Either way, it gets a three from me. 

Our reviews in this series…

  • The Power Of Two
  • Building A Mystery
  • Seeing Is Deceiving (All Coming Soon!…)
  • Dead Wrong
  • Don’t Think Twice
  • Double Jeopardy
  • Kindred Spirits
  • The Witch Hunters
  • Split Decision
  • Destiny’s Twins

Other recommendations…

 

…you might try Daughters of the Moon by Lynne Ewing, Sweep by Cate Tiernan, and Witches’ Key To Terror by Silver RavenWolf.