With a lonely boy named Ben on board, the brave young dragon Firedrake sets out on a magical journey to find the mythical place where silver dragons can live in peace forever. Flying over moonlit lands and sparkling seas, they encounter fantastic creatures, summon up surprising courage -- and cross the path of a ruthless villain with an ancient grudge who's determined to end their quest. Only a secret destiny can save the dragons in this enchanting adventure about the true meaning of home.
About the Author
Cornelia Funke is the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider, and the Inkheart trilogy, along with many other chapter and picture books for younger readers. She lives in Los Angeles, California, in a house filled with books.
"Marvelous stuff for dreaming adventurers of any age."--Clive Barker
"A warm-hearted dream of a book."--The Guardian UK
"A good, old-fashioned ensemble cast quest."--Booklist
"Engaging and suspenseful." --VOYA
"Exciting adventures abound...This book delivers."--The Horn Book
A New York Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A People Magazine Top 10 Pick
Voice of Youth Advocates
(October 1, 2004
This latest adventure story of a boy, a dragon, and a quest will thoroughly satisfy Funke's North American fans. After hiding in rural Scotland for years, a community of dragons finds itself threatened by the incursion of man. Warned of their impending doom but frightened, the dragons refuse to act. Only one, Firedrake, and Sorrel, his Brownie companion, strike out in search of the Rim of Heaven, a haven for dragons remembered only vaguely by the oldest among them. The pair soon finds an unlikely but helpful companion in Ben, a homeless boy. Threatened by ancient predators and assisted by sympathetic scholars and other mythical creatures, the trio triumphantly locates a new haven for the dragons and discover Ben's destiny as the Dragon Rider. The plot is rich, but characters sometimes lack development. The dragon Firedrake is sympathetically drawn, but Sorrel's and Ben's characters are less complete. Sorrel's dialogue is often choppy, and readers learn nothing of Ben's past despite his lack of family or home. Still the novel is engaging and suspenseful and will be read and enjoyed by fans of Funke and fantasy.-Anita Beaman.
School Library Journal
(October 1, 2004;
Gr 4-6-Young Firedrake is the only dragon to heed a warning from his colony's senior resident: return to the hidden city at the Rim of Heaven, or suffer imminent discovery and destruction by humans. Accompanied by a feisty Scottish brownie, an orphaned boy who becomes his dragon rider, and a large group of other supporters, Firedrake fulfills an ancient prophecy and safely returns to his ancestral home. Occasional black-and-white illustrations show many of the book's more exotic characters, a plus for young readers who may not know the folklore from which the creatures are drawn. The omniscient point of view follows each member of this ensemble at length, providing the tale with humor and action but also preventing the main characters from fully developing. The company survives encounters with a basilisk, a djinni, a roc, and a sea serpent, as well as an ongoing threat from Nettlebrand, a malevolent being intent on destroying them. Although each of these confrontations is interesting, the sheer number of episodes, the lack of strong central characters, and Nettlebrand's blustering inability to actually hurt anyone make for a story with much less dramatic tension than Funke's outstanding novels, The Thief Lord (2002) and Inkheart (2003, both Scholastic). A well-known author will assure the book's popularity, but the overlong plot is forgettable.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Horn Book Magazine
(September 1, 2004
(Intermediate) A book with a blue-and-gray cover image of a flying dragon, the plot device of an orphan granted entry to a magical world, and enough heft to serve double-duty as a doorstop -- Eragon? The next Harry Potter? No, it's Funke's Dragon Rider, newly arrived from Germany to jostle for space in the crowded fantasy market. Ben, a homeless orphan, joins dragon Firedrake and furry, bad-tempered brownie Sorrel both in their quest to find the dragon home at the Rim of Heaven and in their mortal combat with Nettlebrand, a golden dragon-machine who wants to exterminate dragonkind. Exciting adventures abound, albeit counterbalanced with some implausible motivations, a few plot holes, and a dollop of syrupy s