The Last Dragon

( 10 )

Overview

When the last dragon and the last elf break the circle, the past and the future will meet, and the sun of a new summer will shine in the sky.

In a world shrouded in darkness and continually lashed by rain, a young elf named Yorsh struggles to survive. His village has been destroyed by the torrential waters, leaving Yorsh suddenly orphaned and alone-the earth's last elf. But soon Yorsh discovers he is part of a powerful prophecy to save the world from the Dark Age that has begun....

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Overview

When the last dragon and the last elf break the circle, the past and the future will meet, and the sun of a new summer will shine in the sky.

In a world shrouded in darkness and continually lashed by rain, a young elf named Yorsh struggles to survive. His village has been destroyed by the torrential waters, leaving Yorsh suddenly orphaned and alone-the earth's last elf. But soon Yorsh discovers he is part of a powerful prophecy to save the world from the Dark Age that has begun. First, however, the young elf will have to find another orphaned creature-the world's last dragon.

Full of great tenderness and humor, this magical journey tells the story of a world plagued by intolerance and wickedness, and the elf and the dragon who will fight for its redemption and bring it back into the light.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In the post-apocalyptic world, only one elf survives. After the deluge, Yorsh's plight seems irrevocably sad until he learns of an ancient prophecy. According to this powerful divination, the past and future will meet and a new summer will shine when the last dragon and the elf break the circle. But where will orphan Yorsh find the last dragon?
Publishers Weekly
Italian author De Mari turns the "prophecy genre" on its ear with this clever and humane fantasy/comedy. Young elf Yorsh lives in a world of constant rain, in an "Elf Camp" and threatened with dire punishment if he strays outside it. He befriends two humans, a woman and a hunter, and the three are captured and imprisoned in the town of Daligar. While escaping from prison, the companions discover snippets of a prophecy: "When the last dragon and the last elf break the circle, the past and the future will meet, the sun of a new summer will shine in the sky." Convinced he is "the last elf" of the prophecy, Yorsh and company set out to find the last dragon, who turns out to be an elderly emotional wreck. Yorsh stays to care for the dragon; 13 years later, the dragon dies and leaves behind an egg that hatches into a 1,600-pound baby. Interestingly, the prophecy does not amount to much. Yorsh returns to Daligar to learn, from their daughter, Robi, that his former companions have been hanged for protecting the elf. When Robi nearly comes to the same end, Yorsh makes it his quest to rescue her. The conclusion-in which Robi and others start a new country with a new constitution of sorts ("No one can hit anybody.... And you can't hang people, either")-nicely delivers the message that prophecies are for people who don't want to control their own destiny. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A young elf named Yorsh is born in a Dark Ages where hatred, despair, and a continuous rain plague the world. Humans are afraid of elves and their elfish powers to read, write, and do magic. Most humans at this time cannot read and the elf society is very literate. When the evil human, Daligar, comes to power, all the world's population of elves are put into "elf camps" to keep them contained. Yorsh's mother and many others are sent away to be killed. Yorsh has no father so his grandmother looks after him when he is a baby elf. Despite her grief over the death of her daughter, she gives her grandson love and teaches him elf history and folk lore. A couple of years pass and the torrents of rain finally destroy the prison camps. Only the young Yorsh survives. He is now the last elf alive in the world and he sets off to find a new home. In a place where humans are mostly hostile, hateful, bitter, and discouraged, Yorsh actually befriends two humans, a hunter and a young woman, who are also trying to avoid arrest. The elf describes himself to his new companions as "one born lately." He really is a very young elf and amazingly naive about the ways of humans. Some of the most humorous and bittersweet parts in this book are the dialogue and misunderstandings between the young elf and his two new human friends. By decree from Daligar, every worker's tool now belongs to the state and must be handed over to the authorities. If caught, the hunter will hang for keeping his bow and arrow. After a long trek, the three are finally caught and sent to prison. However, with Yorsh's special powers, they manage to escape. As they leave the prison, Yorsh happens to read the ancient elfish runes written on thestalls. The prophesy talks about the last elf, which Yorsh recognizes as himself. It says, "When the last elf and the last dragon break the circle….the sun of a new summer will shine in the sky." So Yorsh starts on a quest to find the last dragon and therefore put an end to the Dark Ages. The author weaves a beautifully crafted tale, filled with humor, horror, desperation, and dreams. Silvana De Mari and her excellent translator, Shaun Whiteside, obviously love words and the power of language. As the young elf states, "When everything is frightening, you need a dream even more urgently than you need something to eat." 2006, Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 10 to 16.
—Sally J. K. Davies
VOYA - Hilary Crew
The last "little elf" on earth after a series of adventures, including an escape from a city where people are hung for minor offences, reaches a dragon's cave where he decides to stay for several years to take care of the brooding dragon within. When the new dragon "Erbrow" is hatched from the egg and the old dragon dies, little elf Yorsh and Erbrow are involved in rescuing a group of abused orphans. Erbrow is killed while saving the children, including the girl who, it is has been prophesied, will marry the last elf. Although there is a promising idea for a plot, the novel is not well written. The characters have little inner depth or complexity. The little elf, for example, is either weeping or exceedingly brave. Perhaps most disconcerting is the underlying assumption in the text that to appeal to a young audience, one must indulge in a rather exaggerated, even at times crude, sense of humor; dwell on cruelties in a somewhat perverse way, such as the frequent references to the process of being hung; and engage in a tendency to write down to one's audience by focusing on much that is mundane. The story has the outward structure, descriptions, and "trappings" of fantasy (a dragon's cave, prophecies, riddles, etc.), but it lacks the creative imagination, the power of language, and deeper treatment of themes and ideas found in good fantasy writing.
KLIATT - Donna Scanlon
The difficulty with this quirky fantasy novel translated from the Italian is that its author hasn't quite decided whether it's a satire of the fantasy genre or a fantasy that takes itself entirely too seriously. In the beginning, Yorsh, a very young elf, is making his way through a nearly drowned world. The rains have flooded out all of the areas where elves were forced to live, and he is the last elf left. Yorsh, whose full name is one of those long unpronounceable strings of letters some authors find amusing, has a disarming way of doing or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, leading to a series of less than agreeable adventures. He also stumbles across a prophecy that indicates he should find the last dragon, which he does. In the second part, years have passed and Yorsh finds that the feeble dragon with whom he has been living is not, in fact, the last dragon. That would be the hatchling the dragon leaves behind. Yorsh must raise it and train it and ultimately save the land from the vicious and greedy tyrant who rules it. There are a number of subplots twisting through, and the narrative is uneven because the tone changes in so many ways. One minute, for example, the humor is dry and subtle; and next Yorsh is up to his armpits in guano and fewmets. Yorsh is one of the most annoying characters I have ever encountered, and I wonder why his traveling companions didn't stuff him down a rabbit hole. By the end, he does get a grip and his character grows up. Erbrow, the dragon, is delightful, if a tad predictable, as is Robi, a clever orphan girl. The strangest thing about The Last Dragon is that in spite of its patchwork construction, it still works. True, some scenessparkle while others fall flat, but the reader will still want to know what happens. The satisfying, poignant ending does not disappoint. This title will appeal to the dragon-hungry, and it would be interesting to pair it with Christopher Paolini's Eragon for discussion.
School Library Journal

Gr 4–7
Yorsh is the last of his kind, an elf child in a world that despises elves. He seeks warmth, food, and shelter but has found only cold, rain, and despair. When he meets two unlikely companionships-humans who help him in spite of their prejudices-Yorsh learns of a prophecy concerning the last dragon and the last elf: when these two break the circle there will be a new beginning. Yorsh is young and nearly helpless, and the two humans, Sajra and Monser, are first taken aback but soon charmed by his naïveté. The trio experience a host of comical misunderstandings that offset the dangerous situations they encounter in the Dark Mountains. Almost by chance, Yorsh stumbles across the dragon, but he finds that fulfilling the prophecy is steeped in complications. The second half of the book, set 13 years later, deals with these challenges. Readers will miss Sajra and Monser just as Yorsh does and will likely guess the identity of the human orphan girl before it is revealed and champion her role in the struggle. The solution to the prophecy is wrenching, but young fantasy fans will appreciate the many humorous touches and get caught up in this tale of strength and sacrifice.
—Sarah CouriCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
In the first section of this wise, warmhearted fairytale, the elf Yorsh is only a sweetly naive child; but as the last of his kind, he accepts his destined burden to return summer to a world of endless rain and famine. Assisted by a pair of sympathetic humans and a very difficult dragon, Yorsh discovers that fulfilling a prophecy can sometimes be simpler than it seems. But it can also be more complicated, as an adolescent Yorsh learns in the second story. Even with the help of a dragon and a feisty orphan girl, he finds bringing back the sun was much easier than lifting the darkness of oppression and bigotry. Graceful, witty prose lightly sketches a land filled with astonishingly vivid and original characters. Gentle Yorsh may be an innocent, but he's no fool; through his eyes, his companions glow with humor, tenderness and courage. Their quest provides plenty of suspense and heroic action, never flinching from conflict or the pain it breeds, yet the narrative continually opts for clever, non-violent solutions; the climactic sacrifice is portrayed as necessary, even glorious, but also almost unbearably tragic. Readers are left assured that kindness and hope will prevail, however tenuously, over anger and fear. (Fantasy. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423104056
  • Publisher: Miramax Books for Kids
  • Publication date: 10/2/2007
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 368
  • Age range: 10 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Silvana De Mari worked as a surgeon in Italy and Africa before becoming a practicing psychotherapist. She lives near Turin, Italy, with her family and enormous dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2009

    Great read!

    Humorous, charming, great fantasy story...I read this with my 8 yr old son. We both enjoyed it very much! I was looking for a sequel:)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    The Last Dragon

    i've read tons of books, but this one is by far the best. it has humor, action, everything good in a book. A great choice for anybody 9+. I'm 12 and i still love this book. It made me laugh out loud and even cry. This book is awesome.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2008

    Real life in fiction

    My little sister picked this book up at a book fair...and said it might me something I would like, because I read everything...I loved this book. I thought it over came a lot of things and topics that people go thru in real life...such as prejudice, racism, self sacrifice, true friendship and unconditional love. I think this is a perfect book for kids of all ages and the young at heart...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    I heard it from a friend, that person loved it, i got the book, read it, my friend lost the book, i gave it to her. Discover the adventures with an elf and a dragon with a prohpecy to fufill.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2008

    not enjoyable

    I found the elf very annoying at first but he got better as the book continued. For a children's novel, it would difficult for a child to follow and understand. I agree with the previous reviewer that it's probably more for the teenager audience, although the storyline seems to young for teenagers. I was disappointed. It definitely was not a page turner type of book. The ending was boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2007

    An Enjoyable Read

    The Last Dragon was an enjoyable read. Because of the translation from Italian to English, the book has a different 'sound' to it than others of the genre I have read. I believe that kids ages 12 up to 15 or 16 will be the best audience. My son, who at 8 reads at a 11+ year old level, would have a hard time following some of the storyline do to word choice. But it is surely a book I will be saving for him to read in a couple years. The ending was unexpected and a bit shocking, but very appropriate to the story and the message that is being conveyed: That even when a prophesy seems to be guiding your path, you can still do it YOUR way.

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    Posted March 23, 2011

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    Posted May 6, 2009

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    Posted November 11, 2010

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    Posted June 22, 2010

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