Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: Scorchers, aka It’s #DragonDay (list by Cuyler)

What’s scarier than vampires, zombies, and werewolves combined? Dragons, baby. These fiery serpents have seared their way into fiction for years and they’re here to stay. Everyone needs a little fire-breathing, knight-eating goodness in their reading piles this Fall, so why not take a gander at these scorching tales: 

1) Seraphina by Rachel Hartman- Seraphina is Rachel Hartman’s deubt novel about the animosity between dragons and humans. Not only can Hartman’s dragons breathe fire, but they also change shape, changing into humans to serve as ambassadors and lend their mathematical abilities to mankind. Seraphina also has a unusual gift. As a remarkable musician, she attends court with the others. Only this time someone in the royal family is murdered, and despite the four years of peace between the species, the murder’s trail looks a lot like a dragon’s. In mystery surrounded in fantasy, Seraphina is enticed by the investigation along with the help of Lucian Kiggs, prince and captain of the Queen’s Guard. The peace between dragons and humans is being sabotaged, and as she uncovers plots to do so, Seraphina struggles to keep her gift a secret. Because if the truth gets out, it may cost Seraphina her life. This novel has been awarded Winner of the 2013 YAlSA Morris Award for Best YA Debut Novel, and is entirely worth your time to delve into this mysterious and mystical world fashioned brilliantly by Rachel Hartman. 

 
2) Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman-
Studying the arts of sword-work and dragon magic, sixteen-year old Eon has been focusing all his hard work for one purpose: being chosen as the Dragoneye, an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. There’s only one problem. Eon is actually a girl, which is deadly, because if anyone discovers that a female is using Dragon Magic, death will find her quickly. Trying to keep her identity a secret is not as easy as it seems, and it will take all Eon’s power to keep those from taking her magic and her life. Eon continues on with its companion Eona, which offers its own scorching tension and twists. This New York Times bestseller is one thrilling duology that sizzles right down to the end.
 
3) The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini-
The famous Inheritance Cycle is full of unforgettable storytelling that has touched readers’ hearts worldwide. Eragon, as simple farm boy, finds a blue stone in the forest. Except it’s not a stone at all. It’s a dragon egg. When the dragon hatches, Eragon realizes that a legacy nearly long forgotten resurfaces the minute the hatchling bursts through its shell: The legendary Dragon Riders. In a thrilling four book series, Christopher Paolini crafts a beautiful and dangerous world of destiny, magic, and terrifying power that’s kept its readers glued to the pages from the first book to the last. A must have set in your fiery reads!  

4) Scorched by Mari Mancusi- Scorched takes the sci-fi approach to dragons, which is totally awesome. Trinity Foxx becomes attached to the last dragon egg on Earth when her grandfather brings it in to be the next big piece in his museum. She bonds with it, realizing she is the Fire Kissed, someone who’s destiny is intertwined with that of a dragon. She also, just so happens, to be the cause of the future dragon apocalypse. Which is why twins Connor and Caleb come back from the future to keep the earth from being engulfed in flames. Except they’re on different sides. One wants to save the dragons, and the other wants to destroy them. Trinity has to make the right choice or the world as they know it will go up in flames. This is a great, brand new read by Texas author Mari Mancusi, and hit’s the shelves hotter than a dragon’s flame this October. Get it. Read it. Love it.
 
5) The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey-
Chris d’Lacey creates an action-packed six-book series that tells the story of David Rain and his discovery of a collection of clay dragons who come to life and harbor extraordinary powers, even receiving his own dragon, Gadzooks, who can see into the future. The dragon world is mystical and astounding, and David is drawn down a path that may not offer a return. The later books skip ahead a few years and tells the adventures of his daughter, Alexa. A great, funny, and exhilarating fantasy saga for all ages! 

  
Your TBR pile looks a little bland. Why don’t you pick up these fantastic reads and “heat” things up? The dragons have made themselves known, and they’re not going anywhere. Take a ride on the back of one of these fiery beasts, and see what adventures it takes you on!  Also, remember to tell us your faves in the comments or Tweet them to us with the hashtag #DragonDay.  I’ll try and compile everyone’s tweet for a recap tomorrow. Here’s a list of more titles for you from Goodreads.

Book Review: Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Fire shot up from the ground like geysers, and all around them fiendish figures danced about in wild abandon. Kira screamed again, over and over, but her screams excited the demons further, sending them into a rampage as they clawed her clothes and raked sharp talons against her flesh. Ahead, a figure grew to immense proportions in the midst of the dancing creatures. She knew immediately what it was: the Demon Lord.

Grayish-black skin gleamed as it filled her vision entirely, until all she saw before her was a face. Black eyes with red pupils stared at her while the great slash of a mouth turned into a large, gaping hole that pulled itself into a bizarre semblance of a smile. This creature looked nothing like she’d imagined. It was far worse.

Kira looked into the black eyes and found horror and death staring back at her. She tore her gaze away and saw the cavern had changed into a battlefield. Kwas and Jaewon fought Yamato soldiers of incredible speed and strength. One soldier looked directly at her, his skin melting away to reveal the demon underneath. Grinning, the demon stabbed Jaewon through his abdomen, while other creatures dragged Kwan from view.

The battlefield went up in a blaze of fire and then burned out to reveal Taejo alone, surrounded and outnumbered, but fighting bravely. A horde of half-breed soldiers rushed him all at once, engulfing Taejo until he disappeared.
“Taejo!” Kira screamed. “Taejo!”

She turned to the Demon Lord. “What do you want?”

The monster laughed. Smoke billowed from its mouth. 


“The end of you all!” it replied, the voice bellowing as the enormous mouth grew larger and closer, until it surrounded her in darkness.


The only female fighter in the King’s army, Kira was born with a curse- yellow eyes that can see the demons that are trying to overrun the country and destroy the Kingdom. Demonslayer and outcast, Kira goes on the run with the young prince when the Kingdom is betrayed and the King is murdered. With only the guidance of a cryptic prophecy, Kira and the prince may be the saviors of the world, but first they must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord in order to survive.

Ellen Oh writes a wonderful beginning of a trilogy blending Korean folklore with a full fantasy adventure. Kira, daughter of the weaponsmaster, was born with the ability to see demons- called a kumiho by her clansmen, she is outcast yet is sworn to protect her young prince from the demons that seem to be invading with alarming frequency. When the Kingdom is betrayed and the King killed, Kira takes Taejo and hides within the countryside and runs to an uncle’s Kingdom for protection. Meanwhile, the monks believe that Taejo, or possibly Kira, is the Dragon Warrior, the one destined to defeat the Demon Lord and unite the Kingdoms in peace. Yet how can a teenage girl and a young boy unite the fractured kingdoms with all the evil against them?  Highly intertwined with Korean tradition, Kira is extremely believable and has her own doubts about her own abilities that make her very reachable to teens. The challenges she faces, and the story that Oh weaves, leave readers tearing through to the end, and desperately waiting for the next book to see what will happen next. A good paring with Alison Goodman’s Eon and Eona series, or Cashore’s Graceling.  4 out of 5 stars. As of March 22, 2013, Goodreads has Prophecy listed at 3.51 stars.  

NOTE: There is a LOT of sword fighting in this book, and mass suicide. It is not extremely graphic, but it is there, and I have some impressionable teens who, while they would love the world Oh builds, would not be comfortable with the fighting or the images of the suicides.


I loved this book. The world is so beautiful, the writing is so lush, and I didn’t want it to end. I think teens will really relate to Kira and her outcast status, and her abilities to see demons where no one else can see just adds to her “awesomeness” factor. I can see Kira taking her place with Eona or Katniss- she’s that dedicated to her family and her mission, as much as they are, and her story is just as heartbreaking as theirs are.

The prejudice against Kira is more than her yellow eyes, it is her roughness as well. She’s a woman fulfilling a man’s role, and that is completely unacceptable in the realm; it’s driven home early on when the Queen (Kira’s aunt) arranges for her marriage even though she is the sworn protector to the young prince. The duality of her roles, and the challenge of fulfilling both her duties and her desires, will be interesting in the coming books.

An Interview with a Dragon

Earlier this year authr Rusty Fischer did an Interview with a Zombie.  It was so much fun we thought we would do it again.  Today, author J. F. Jenkins, author of several ya series including the Dragon Saga series, does an interview with a dragon.
In the hotseat today is Darien Oceina from “Legend of the Oceina Dragon” by J.F. Jenkins. Here are some questions about the great mythological beasts in his world. And Darien would know from personal experience since he is a shape shifting dragon. Leave a comment, ask him another question and he’ll answer it in a reply as well as a future blog post found on J.F. Jenkins blog. The best question will win a copy of BOTH Dragon’s Saga books “Legend of the Oceina Dragon” and “Legend of the Inero Dragon” and one lucky commenter will win a copy of “Legend of the Oceina Dragon”. So that’s two chances to win some awesome books.

Aside from being awesome, what do dragons do for fun?
I would say it depends on the dragon. We’re all different in our personalities just like you humans. I prefer to read, watch movies, swim, or explore the city. My brother Tony on the other hand spends most of his free time in the kitchen trying to discover new recipes. Now if you mean dragony things that we do for fun? I love to fly through the clouds. Those really big clouds that look like cotton balls? They feel amazing on the skin, all moist and cool. We have games that we’ll play together sometimes while we fly. I also like to swim in the oceans, but it’s not something I can do much anymore because of the shipping trades.

Do dragons shed their skin like lizards and snakes do?
We don’t, but my kind also do not stay in our dragon form for long periods of time. I bet if I spent a significant time in my dragon form, I would start to shed it off. When I transform though, my dragon skin refreshes itself.

Are baby dragons born knowing how to swim/fly/do whatever else dragons do, or do they have to learn how, like birds?
They have to learn how. Some of it is instinct. My kind, being so in tune with the water, we go into the pool with the young ones and let them explore. They learn that they can breathe underwater and how to swim – even in the human form. Flying is harder to learn, especially since we don’t become solid in our transformations until about five years old.
How big are your scales?
About the size of a dinner plate. Keep in mind, I am small in size for my kind though. On average, they’re about the size of 14″ pizza. These are the big main scales of course. They vary in size, based on the location and function of the scale. Some are small and flexible. The big ones are for plating and protection.

What are your weaknesses?

Magically speaking, I’m weak against Earth magic. All of the dragons were created with balance in mind. Water is weak to Earth, Earth weak to Wind, Wind weak to Fire, and Fire weak to Water. Now if you mean me as a person, that’s something different all together.

Do all dragons have magical abilities?

Yes! All the dragon species have an element, and their magic reflects said element. My spells all revolve around the water and life. There’s a theory that we can combine our magics together even, but no one has tested this recently. It’s kind of a myth. I’m certainly curious.

J F Jenkins most recent title in the Dragons Saga is out now and is available in e-book format.  She is also the author of Battlefield and the Vala series.
You can find out more about J. F Jenkins and her books at her blog.