by Carole Wilkinson
black dog books. Junior, Australian. Paperback rrp $12.99
Dragon Dawn is the prequel to the award-winning and best-selling Dragonkeeper trilogy. The series follows the story of the elder dragon Danzi, the hatchling Kai and Ping, the slave girl who becomes their Dragonkeeper. The third book in the series, Dragon Moon, was the 2008 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Younger Readers.
In the prequel, we travel back in time to when Danzi is a youngster, not yet 1,000 years old. Cho-Men, Danzi’s Dragonkeeper, has died and Danzi is preparing to return the old man’s possessions to his family. Danzi has decided he doesn’t want or need another keeper. Humans don’t last very long anyway.
But on the journey he misses the company of his old friend and strikes up a new friendship with Bingwen, a young man earning money in the street with sleight of hand tricks. Danzi doesn’t approve of such trickery but the two are drawn together.
Dragonkeepers are born to specific families and have three key characteristics – they can hear dragon speech in their mind, they have second sight and are left-handed. Bingwen can hear Danzi and he has prophetic dreams. But he is right handed, his left hand crushed as a child. Could he still be a Dragonkeeper?
The book is set in exciting times. The armies of the Qin are marching from the north to besiege the cities of China. Danzi and Bingwen, searching for Cho-Men’s village, fly right into the middle of a battle zone.
I highly recommend Dragon Dawn and the entire Dragonkeeper series. It will appeal to boys and girls alike – whether they enjoy fantasy, history or just a good adventure.