Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dragon Castle by Joseph Bruchac

Dragon CastlePrince Rashka's parents mysteriously leave the castle, and the Dark Lord arrives while they're gone. He's disguised and plans to have his daughter marry Rashka's older brother to become queen. She emits an enchanting spell that mesmerizes everyone, including the older prince. Rashka knows the castle is in danger, but he's not sure how to stop the Dark Lord as his evil magic grows more powerful. There are several attempts on Rashka's life, so he travels to his uncle for advice. He learns the story of Pavol, the first king of Dragon Castle, and the man who took away the Dark Lord's powers many years ago. Will Rashka find the power to stop the rise of the Dark Lord before it's too late?

This book was a 2011 finalist for a Cybils award in middle grade speculative fiction, and I really enjoyed it. Rashka was the overlooked younger brother, but he was the protagonist. He was the thinker in the family, while his brother and parents never worried about anything. The author made two wolves Rashka's sidekicks, and he provided the character with other mentors. The story of Pavol was shared in alternate chapters, and Pavol's memories gave Rashka some guidance. The author wove a suspenseful tale of magic, family, faeries, and dragons.

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