It’s not very often I start a review with the front cover but when the covers contain dragons of all shapes and hues, drawn by the Dragon Master himself, Marc Mcbride, it’s a good place to begin. The covers are eye-catching and glorious.
The series is complete with Book 6 to be released in September 2015. Each of the first five books ends with the greater story still unresolved and a cliff-hanger leading the reader directly into the following book.
This structure suits a reluctant reader who is overwhelmed by a wad of pages but will devour the longer story as action-packed, manageable block-sized books. For the more avid reader, as all six books are being released in quick succession, it’s not long to wait for the final resolution.
On the first pages of each book, there’s a map which the reader will find invaluable as the story unfolds in Savaria and Darvinia and on the Centralian Sea that separates the kingdoms.
This is a grand tale of dragons and forbidden magic, of warlocks and sewer rats, of battles and capture, of devious plans and an unlikely hero. And that’s just the first three books.
In The Burning Sea, war has been declared by the Emperor of Darvinia. The Savarians are suspected of working forbidden magic. Long ago the four magics, earth, air water and fire, were divided by the Dragons who continue to ensure no human will ever wield the magics together again. The last time a human did that, it caused the greatest war ever imagined.
We meet Dantar and Velza, brother and sister, travelling on the ship Davarian Invincible with their father, the warlock, Calbaras, Dantar is a lowly overworked cabin boy but Velza is a shapeshifter and an officer. It’s not surprising they don’t get along.
Somewhere hidden on board is a dragon chick and the Dragon Drauvard is taking a keen interest in the ship
In Dragonfall Mountain, the Invincible is sunk in battle. Velza learns some unpleasant truths about her father and brother and sister find themselves on the same side. Dantar discovers a new strength and the possibility of his own magic. And a dragon dies, the first dragon death in over a thousand years.
Ironclaw opens with the Dragons demanding the Savarian king explain why forbidden magic is being practised in the city of Teliz:
In the entire world there are few things that can strike fear into the heart of a king. The sight of his army retreating would be high on the list… at the very top, however there could be nothing to rival three very angry dragons the size of warships towering over you and asking questions for which you have no answers.
The story progresses with multiple plot strands. Calbaras has created a copy of Dantar and this shell now needs to be filled. Dantar continues to emerge as the one who matters and it seems a shapeshifting dragon always appears to protect him when he is in danger.
At the end of Iron Claw, Dantar, his friend Marko and Merikus the sewer rat are captives, waiting to be hung and arguing about which one of them might be a shapeshifted baby dragon in disguise. The young reader is perfectly primed and positioned to read on to the next book in the series
Recommended for children 9 years and up, in particular suitable for those who like their books short but their fantasy story a little longer.
Reviewed by Sandy Fussell
Title: The Warlock’s Child Series – Book 1: The Burning Sea, Book 2: Dragonfall Mountain, Book 3:The Iron Claw
Author: Paul Collins and Sean Mullins
Illustrator: Marc McBride
Publisher: Ford Street Publishing
Publication Date: $12.95 RRP
Type: Junior Fiction, Fantasy