Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke
|Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: James Donald|
|Summary: A simply stunning piece of work that gripped me from the start and made me care about all the characters and their predicaments. A great piece of writing for their age group.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
|External links: Author's website|
The last Pegasus on Earth has three eggs but unfortunately Pegasus eggs need their mother's saliva to allow them to magically grow and their mother died recently. Despite growing increasingly transparent the eggs are harder than diamond and before too long they will become a tomb for the winged horses inside. Our plucky adventurers have to seek out a special feather from potentially the most dangerous creature on the planet, a griffin. That is if griffins even exist! A gorgeous and loving book that just oozes empathy and care for all of nature. This is an utterly brilliant adventure that gripped me from the start and if I was 10 years old this would be one of the most wonderful adventures I could go on.
I was initially sceptical about this book thinking that it was a cash in on the Train your Dragon books… then I was afraid that coming in late in a series wouldn't be good; I was wrong about both things.
It is a tough thing writing a book series. You want everyone to have the whole story but at the same time you've got to respect the fact that every book could be somebody's first. Funke handles this dilemma well and I felt that I got all I needed as a new reader yet felt compelled enough to want to read the first book too.
The ticking clock plot device is utilised extremely well here and even though it is hardly a spoiler to state that we know how things will work out in the end I still felt a sense of claustrophobia and tension. If I was a younger reader parts of this book would have had me up all night reading under the covers. Add into this the heartbreak of the last Pegasus trying to get over the loss of his partner whilst watching his children grow (knowing that this growth could mean a grotesque and painful death for them) and you've got some powerful writing.
I need to stop to praise the real star of this book. Whilst Ben, Firedrake, Twigleg and others seem to be the very obvious protagonists for this adventure I felt that they were all overshadowed by the adventuring rat, Lola. If Lola and CS Lewis' Reepicheep ever have children together they'd found an indomitable army that would be utterly unstoppable and the bravest thing the world has ever seen. Lola is the rat version of Emilia Earhart complete with no nonsense banter, thigh-slapping can-do attitude and a spirit of adventure to shame the boldest.
I don't think Lola was supposed to be such a break-away lead character and I'm quite sure that Funke expected Twigleg, if anyone, to be the character who stole Ben's thunder but that isn't what happened. Twigleg was fantastic and so lovingly described but Lola was just too bright a star to ignore. It is a shame that the actual lead characters were lacking at times.
The plucky adventurers and their belief in the worth of all living things whether magical or not makes this book utterly enchanting. Much like Star Trek where the glossy moral perfection of the Federation gets tested by contact with other species so too here the protagonists are not Mary Sues in ivory towers. Their beliefs are challenged and pushed to the brink by circumstances and when lines are crossed you don't feel for the victim but the perpetrator.
There is quite a cast of characters in this book and if you are not paying attention it could become confusing. Take care to read the bios at the back of the book first as they will help a lot.
Overall this was a fantastic novel from an author I look forward to reading more of in the future.
For further reading hit the first Dragon Rider book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke at Amazon.com.
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