Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: Dragon Castle by Joseph Bruchac

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.
Dragon Castle by Joseph Bruchac
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: June 2011
Pages: 352
Source: Library
For: Cybils

Prince Rashko is frustrated that he's the only one in the family who can think straight.  His foolish parents and ridiculous older brother seem incompetent to care for the kingdom.  So, when his parents disappear right when a mysterious and powerful stranger appears, Rashko knows it's up to him to make sure the castle and kingdom are safe.  But he might have to depend on his foolish family and his unique ancestry to help him.

Things I Liked:
I loved the beautiful setting and the lovely Slovak details of this story (probably because I had such a great time visiting the Czech Republic a few years back)!  The characters, the folk tale-ish feel of it, all of these things appealed to me.  The whole story and atmosphere had me drawn into its details almost from the first.  I loved the characters too, how Rashko thinks he's so smart and everyone in his family is moronic - it was very teenage of him.  I think the relationships between all members of the family are really interesting, particularly the way our perceptions (and Rashko's too) change toward them is really well done.  And the book also manages to have humor!  An awesome historical fantasy with an eastern European flavor.  A favorite part:
"I lovely young human woman who was prisoner of bad monster.  Is safe now to put down sword and shield and come rescue me.  I not dragon trying to trick you."
Jedovaty looked up at Pavol with one eye.  "Seven heads," the former donkey observed, "and not a working brain in any one of them?" p 232
Things I Didn't Like:
Some of the story seemed to drag, the pacing wasn't quite on through the whole book.  The flipping back and forth in perspective was annoying sometimes, but I still managed to enjoy it.  And a few times I was bothered by the numerous uses of Slovak language (mostly I loved them), which I think will discourage some kids from finishing it.  Still, it's a strong fantasy book for those who love castles and magic and folk tales and aren't afraid of those more difficult linguistic details.

A bit like the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

s-factor: none 

None that I remember

mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: ->-> 
there is some fighting and a few frightening parts

Overall rating: **** 

For more middle grade fun, check out Jill at The Owl's March of Middle Grade Books event!

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  1. I haven't even heard of this one. I'm having a hard time with MG books lately, though. :(

    1. It is a more obscure title and will definitely appeal to a very specific crowd of folks. If you're having a hard time with MG, you may want to skip it for now.


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