ARC Review: Dragon’s Green

Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

Publisher: Canongate Books

Publication date: 06 April 2017


‘Some people think opening a book is a simple thing. It’s not. Most people don’t realise that you can get truly lost in a book. You can. Especially you. Do not open any of these books without my permission, Euphemia.’*

30220948Euphemia Truelove spends a lot of time with her grandfather Griffin after her mother’s disappearance and her father’s remarriage.  When Griffin is attacked and killed, Effie discovers that he has left her his magnificent library and a few mementos.  Unfortunately, Effie’s father sells the books — all but one — to a sinister antiquarian book dealer.  With the aid of her grandfather’s gifts, some new allies, and the only remaining book —Dragon’s Green — Effie and her friends embark on an adventure to retrieve the books and protect the powerful magic they conceal.

The first book in a new children’s series by acclaimed novelist Scarlett Thomas, Dragon’s Green has it all: brave kids outwitting bumbling adults, magic, mayhem, strong but unlikely friendships, secrets, and humor.  If I had this book as a kid, the spine would have been worn out. While it is very much in the spirit of Harry Potter or Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, it manages to be something different in the sea of books about magic.

This is one of those rare books that both children and adults can equally enjoy.  This novel is truly a love letter to books and they power they hold.  With references to Shakespeare, Sophocles, Bulgakov, Harry Potter, a whole host of poets and more, this is a book for established and budding book lovers.  Thomas cleverly combines magic and literature in such a way that doesn’t alienate young readers and invokes curiosity in the reader.  With a narrative voice that harkens back to Lemony Snicket, the story flows easily and does not talk down to younger readers.  I felt that it puts you, whether you’re young or older, on a level playing field — you will get a similar experience whether you’re a child or an adult.
This is a perfect read for fans of Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Diana Wynne Jones, or Philip Pullman.  I’d also highly recommended to anyone who has ever daydreamed about falling into a book, going on adventures, or has struggled to fit in.

Rating: 4/5

*Copy courtesy of Goodreads

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