Middle Grade Review – The Dragon’s Cave

Struck by lightning, twelve-year-old Seamus is thrust into medieval times. Confused and physically unable to tell anyone that he is from another time, he struggles to adjust to the speech patterns and the new skills (archery, horse back riding) he is expected to know. He finds that he is part of a troop on a quest to conquer a dragon and steal the spoils, a quest which does not sit well with him, especially when he discovers that he is mysteriously and magically connected to the nature around him.

While The Dragon’s Cave superimposes fantastic and magical creatures against a backdrop of realism, the fantasy elements are introduced in a seamless way that makes it easy for the readers to make the imaginative leap and follow the author on the story’s path.

The Dragon’s Cave is fast paced and the tension and action hardly let up. The theme of respect for nature and fellow human beings is consistent throughout the book. This is a common theme: the bad guys are destructive thugs, the good guys appear to be bad but are only so because they are protecting their realm; so the book is not particularly original on that front. However, it is an important theme that warrants regular reinforcement today and it does not come across as didactic. The book also looks at friendships and the challenges of maintaining long-standing friendships even as you change and mature.

The writing is clear and descriptions of the fantasy landscape are vivid.

The author sets us up nicely for the sequel and readers will be intrigued, albeit more by the dragon and the characters that exist in that world than by Seamus and his friends. Overall an enjoyable book.

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