Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen

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Title: The Dragon of Trelian
Author: Michelle Knudsen
Series: Trelian, Book 1
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Hardcover: 416 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Calen, a lonely young mage-to-be, never dreamed that Princess Meglynne would become his friend. And impulsive Meg never imagined that secretly tending a baby dragon would cause her to be "linked" to the winged beast — for life. Being attuned to a dragon’s thoughts and feelings is exciting but scary, especially when their destinies are tied (for better or worse). And now Meg’s sister is about to marry a prince to end a war between kingdoms, a celebration that only Meg and Calen know is endangered by a murderous plot. How can a girl, a boy, and a dragon merge their magic and strength to bring down a powerful traitor before it’s too late? 

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Dragon of Trelian focuses on a mage's apprentice named Calen and a princess named Meg. The dragon is less central to the story than I would have liked, but that will probably shift as the series continues. In this novel, Knudsen has created an incredible, complex fantasy world that people of all ages will love to delve into. I had my doubts at the beginning, but the characters are so easy to relate to and I was immediately sucked into their world.

The plot had some issues for me, but I really loved the characters and their relationship with each other. Both Meg and Calen are fantastically well-rounded, and I could see both boys and girls loving this story because of the dual points of view. Once the action and adventure got started (it did take a very long time for it to start), the pace really picked up and I was hooked. The black winged creatures (shown on cover) are described in horrific detail, which I loved -- a good fantasy isn't complete without at least one frightening creature.

What I didn't like, and what seems to be a problem for a lot of middle grade works, is that a lot of conflicts are resolved within a few pages of being introduced. There are some problems that take longer, but for the most part, a seemingly huge obstacle is thrown in the characters' way, and then it magically disappears within moments. This makes it really frustrating when they can't figure out an obvious solution to a problem that takes them chapters to solve. Yes, it's middle grade and should be less complex, but I like it when the characters are pushed and have to work for a happy ending.

Despite that, however, I found this to be a charming fantasy with incredibly lovable characters. I can't wait to see what the next books have in store, and I've already added the sequel to my to-read list.

*I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.*