Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher

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Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Second instalment of this fab middle grade series set in the same world as Fletcher's Stoneheart sequence. Lots of action and some new Spits to fall in love with!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Hodder
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1444917358

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Your city is lost. Your city is not yours. Your city is mine.

That's what Bast says. The Ancient Egyptian goddess, freed from thousands of years imprisonment, has unleashed her magic. Time has stopped. All the humans are frozen in suspended animation. All the humans except, that is, brother and sister Will and Jo, who are protected by the scarab bracelets they wear. And now, Bast has even succeeded in freezing some of the Spits (good statues) and has sent the bad statues (Taints) to find the two children who are threatening her plans.

Yep. In this London, statues are alive.

Can Will and Jo stick together? Can the frozen Spits be restored? And can the siblings free their mother?

This second story in the Dragon Heart series did feel a tiny bit padded to me. Not that much happens. Well, there's plenty of action - chases, fights, setbacks; all you'd want in an adventure story - but the plot doesn't advance very much. Bast recruits an army and Will and Jo find some new allies. There's a loss and a win to make up for it but there isn't a great narrative advancement that would make the story completely satisfying.

Not that I want you to think that The London Pride was a disappointment. It really, really wasn't. I love the world of living statues that Fletcher has created and I could read books and books and books set in it. This instalment introduces us to some new characters - I loved the inclusion of Guy the gorilla from London Zoo. The taciturn Guy is my new favourite statue. And we meet Mozart, too, known as Wolfie in the Stoneheart world. Wolfie's skill isn't derring do or violence: it's the magic and charm of music, which Fletcher describes beautifully:

It was extraordinary and exciting and moving and familiar and unexpected and beautiful. It was all that and many more contradictory things, but most of all, despite all its spellbinding intricacy, the thought came to Will that it was pure: it was as pure as the clean, cold water from the original well that all the greatest music comes from.

What a lovely thing to write! And the whole book is like that. Honestly. It's full of charm and whimsy and funny moments, all set inside some riproaring action and featuring two relatable but courageous central characters. Roll on, book three.

Don't forget to read the first in this series. I think you might also enjoy The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, a wonderful, vivid adventure set on the world's longest train and featuring murder, mayhem, circus performers and the mythical sasquatch.

Buy Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher at Amazon.com.