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Posted July 27, 2012
Dragon's Moon by Bent Lorentzen
Release Date: June 3rd, 2009
Publisher: Paladin Timeless (Twilight Times)
Page Count: 135
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest and unbiased review
A young dragon beset by childhood trauma and a disability, goes on a quest for his identity and happiness. Enduring severe hardships in the search to find his roots, he ultimately discovers his disability may be a key weapon against a terrifying antagonist.
What Stephanie Thinks: Elementary and middle grade readers will be charmed by this short, but compelling dragon adventure, and parents will appreciate its elements of bravery, family, love, and self-acceptance as well.
Lorentzen weaves a traditional hero's journey that begins with our main character's birth. Even as an infant waddler dragon, he is unlike his siblings — even his egg was unusual; gold, instead of white — in a negative way. He has a significantly fewer amount of scales, which labels him as "ugly" in his unwelcoming homeland of Nistala, and also a speech impediment, which makes him the biggest joke among his peers. On top of that, his growth rate is much more rapid than anyone else's and by a few months, he's already at adult size, awkwardly towering over the other baby dragons. The scenes where he is ridiculed are tear-inducing, reminiscent of The Ugly Duckling (which is a story that made me cry when I was little!). Lorentzen excels at tugging at readers' hearts by ensuing very human emotions with his mythical characters.
The baby dragon wants nothing but to be beautiful, and to fit in — he's tired of being an embarrassment, especially for his tender, but now impatient mother — so he sets off on a quest to find true beauty. On his journey, he discovers more than he ever bargained for, including his identity, a name, for the first time: Farluna; his destiny and strengths, finally an explanation and purpose to his disfigurement and stutter; and most importantly, his soul mate. On this voyage, he experiences for the first time, what it's like to be loved and what it's like to love himself, and that truly is the greatest recognition any young creature can make.
While the plot is well-organized and its message touching, I couldn't really get into this one. I personally don't think it's "fun" enough for children to read — the prose is quite weak, and at times, awkward and difficult to follow. As an older reader, I could tolerate it, but I can't say I enjoyed it. At times, I caught myself skimming a lot too. I guess I'm not that fond of the high fantasy genre. Lorenzen does create a convincing dragon world, but Dragon Moon's lack of reader appeal and stylistic talent make it sort of a bland read.
Stephanie Loves: "'Laugh until pain can no longer touch you."
Radical Rating: 5 hearts - Doesn't particularly light any of my fires; I feel indifferent about this book.
Posted July 18, 2010
If you were a dragon who was entirely different from all the other dragons in your family, how would you feel and what would you do? Author Bent Lorentzen takes us to the dragon land of Nistula, where in ancient times the original black Creatpr dragon exploded because of loneliness. The head became the Ancient Mother sun dragon, and the heart became the Ancient Father moon dragon who mysteriously disappeared. One day a mother waddle or pond dragon pushes her three eggs into the pond and jumps into it herself to escape a storm. There, she discovers a strange, glowing egg that she hatches with her own. However, the young dragon is different from his brothers and sister. He is ugly, he stutters, and he keeps feeling that there is something which he must do. After they all go south for the winter, the mother is captured by a soarer dragon on their return home, and in sorrow the young dragon flies so high that he falls but is rescued by Princess Lasa and sent to the island of Saha to see the dragon Queen Najimeeno for help.
In Saha, he finds out that the Queen and her allies, the Emperor Fire Face and Prince Rapaza, are all involved in a battle with the evil Count Ewot who has his castle in the Northern Mountains. The young dragon is told that he will find his destiny in the Northern Mountains. First he goes to the castle of Prince Rapaza, where he learns that his name is Farluna and he falls in love with a white dragon named Solmoa whose first husband, the Prince's historian, had been killed by Ewot. Farluna then passes through the great swamp to the Northern Mountains where he first meets and helps the songfouls who had been created by Ewot but were hiding from him. Also from them he learns more mysterious information that seems to relate to his past and his purpose. Farluna continues on into the mountains where he is captured by a traitor waddle dragon in Ewot's service and held captive by giant snakes who inject poison into him. Will he be able to escape? Will he fulfill his destiny? And will he ever find out who he really is?
Fantasy fiction concerning dragons has been all the rage for the past several years, but Dragon's Moon is somewhat different in that most other such books involve interaction between humans and dragons, whereas this book is solely about dragons. Lorentzen, who was born in Roskilde, Denmark, and has worked as a science teacher, editor, book reviewer, photojournalist, and syndicated columnist, uses his story allegorically to deal with such issues as experiencing severe childhood trauma, searching for one's identity, and using a disability as a weapon against an antagonist, all wrapped up with an "Ugly Duckling" type of ending. The text was a little hard for me to follow at times because of several flashbacks to explain events that took place before the book's opening, but in general it is a satisfying read that will encourage young people to avoid giving up and to keep on going no matter what.
Posted December 9, 2008
In Nistala, the Waddler Dragon laid three eggs, but hatches four as a golden egg that she does not remember producing lies with the others. Three boys and a girl are born, but the one from the golden egg Farluna is different as this draggling has few scales on his body. The other young dragons torment and scorn the ¿ugly¿ one, who feels isolated and alone except for his mother. --- When his mother dies, the lonely one feels so forlorn he decides to kill himself by soaring to the end of the sky and then plunging straight down to his death. Instead of dying, he is rescued and escorted to Queen Nijameeno, who has numerous species of dragons residing in her humongous castle. The Queen tells the newcomer that he must seek his beauty in the treacherous northern mountains in the north accompanied by a Sprint Dragon to guide him. --- At Prince Rapazo's castle, they learn that the evil Ewot has recently killed a historian in his efforts to control more of the land. The dragon decides his destiny is to challenge and hopefully stop Ewot. --- This is a terrific young adult fantasy that starts off as a dragon version of the Ugly Duckling, but turns into a coming of age saga. The little ugly one is a fabulous protagonist whose feelings of rejection put him over the edge once grief adds to his misery. Interestingly his quest for beauty, which changes to his challenging the magically competent malevolent Ewot, gives him a reason to live. The support cast enhances a fine tale that children of all ages will want to trek alongside of Farluna in the land of Nistala. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2005
As someone who works with kids, this is one for the books. It sweetly touches the soul, and you aren't even aware of it... until later. Absolutely breathtaking! I want more from this author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.