The Barnes & Noble Review
The bestselling author of Inkheart and The Thief Lord serves up an adventurous novel for middle-graders about a team of bravehearts seeking a mysterious lair of ancient dragons. Keeping up the epic, magical atmosphere that makes her older books so appealing to fans, Cornelia Funke tells the nail-biting tale of Firedrake, a silver dragon who leads a mission to locate the Rim of Heaven, in response to the threat posed by humans who are scheming to flood the valley where his clan of dragons currently lives. Soon, accompanied by a brownie named Sorrel and an orphan boy named Ben, Firedrake begins the expedition toward the Rim of Heaven with only scant information to go on. Readers quickly learn that the group is being pursued by a golden, manmade dragon named Nettlebrand -- a destroyer of other dragons -- who turns up throughout the story, using water to transport himself and aided by a homunculus who spies on Firedrake while pretending to be an ally. Funke provides audiences much to chew on with her cast of friendly and dastardly characters, signature multi-stranded story lines, and heart-pounding climax, making sure to keep the action coming and audiences constantly guessing what will happen next. At over 500 pages, the book shouldn't be a problem for her fans -- or lovers of Harry Potter, for that matter. A fantastic, high-flying journey that's pure proof that Funke knows her storytelling. Matt Warner
The humans are coming! That spells trouble in the valley where the last dragons live and sets young Firedrake on a quest to find refuge for his dwindling species. Author Funke's straightforward style makes this an excellent option for younger readers longing for big-kid fantasy. The (Ages 8 to 12)
Child magazine's Best Children's Book Awards 2004
This fantasy that established Funke's (Inkheart) reputation as a gifted storyteller in her native Germany (available for the first time in the U.S.), is sure to appeal to her many American fans. When humans encroach upon his home valley, Firedrake, a young silver dragon, sets off to find the Rim of Heaven, a legendary haven in the mountains. But evil Nettlebrand, a human-made hunter of silver dragons, is spying on him, hoping Firedrake will lead him to even more delicious treats. The creature, referred to as the Golden One, resembles a huge dragon, but he is covered in cold, hard gold scales and cannot fly; however, he can magically appear in any body of water. During his journey, Firedrake is joined by a feisty brownie, a homunculus (who initially spied for Nettlebrand) and Ben, an orphan who may be the dragon rider foretold in an ancient prophecy. Readers will delight in the creatures that turn up in this extended quest. The elves, dwarves and a thousand-eyed djinni (a kindly professor of archaeology and his friends also aid the travelers in piecing together clues) help contribute to a rich lore (all enchanted creatures have red eyes, for example, and dragon-fire will reveal their true natures). While readers may have trouble keeping track of all the plot's strands as they soar through this story, they will no doubt find themselves drawn in by the lively characters and their often hilarious banter, as well as the nonstop obstacles they encounter before the inevitable face-off with Nettlebrand. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6-Cornelia Funke's novel (Scholastic/The Chicken House, 2004) about Firedrake, a young silver dragon who has lived peacefully in an isolated Scottish valley with other dragons and assorted fabulous creatures for many years is a charming fantasy and a listening delight. When the dragons discover that humans plan to take over their valley, Firedrake and a feisty, headstrong brownie named Sorrel set out to find the Rim of Heaven, the legendary home of silver dragons, rumored to be in the Himalayan Mountains. The two are soon joined by Ben, an orphan, who helps the pair obtain a map to the area and escape the perils of the city. The quest to find the ancient homeland is soon complicated by the realization that Nettlebrand, an evil artificial golden dragon whose sole purpose in life is to hunt silver dragons, is following their every move. A cast of sympathetic humans and fabulous creatures, elves, sea serpents, and a djinni help and sidetrack Firedrake in his journey. The urgency of the mission is carefully conveyed through Brendan Fraser's expert pacing and timing. His boyish charm and irresistible enthusiasm gives each character a distinct voice and personality. The quick humor and intellect of the characters is handled deftly by Fraser. Listeners will be carried along by the narrator's excitement.-Wendy Woodfill, Hennepin County Library, Minnetonka, MN Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
When human development threatens the remote Scottish valley where the earth's last remaining silver dragons have hidden, Firedrake, a determined young dragon, and his friend Sorrel, an irascible brownie, set out to find the Rim of Heaven, a remote Himalayan valley said to be the ancient home of the dragons. In short order they pick up Ben, a stout-hearted orphan lad, and Twigleg, a homunculus in the joyless employ of Nettlebrand, the evil artificial golden dragon whose sole purpose in life is hunting and killing silver dragons. The twin imperatives to evade Nettlebrand and to find the Rim of Heaven form the engine that drives this narrative, and the importance of belief-in goodness, in possibility, in magic, in love-provides the fuel. Various secondary characters pop up to help or to hinder, genially straining credibility with the tidiness of plot-driven need. This solid adventure lacks the lusciousness of language and intricacy of plot that marked last year's Inkheart, but it does carry the reader along at breakneck pace, the inevitably victorious ending no less satisfying for all its predictability. (Fiction. 8-12)First printing of 150,000