The Dragonet Prophecy

Wings of Fire Book 1

by Tui T. Sutherland

I needed a light read. This was better than expected, but also darker. You’d think from the cover illustrations and where it’s shelved in the library that this is a fun kid’s series, but actually there’s a lot of violence and suggestions of things like suicide. Didn’t bother me, but I’d consider what age kid I recommend this to.

The series is set on a world where dragons are the dominant species- humans seen as annoying, squeaking little things that occasionally try to steal treasure, and are often eaten (made me laugh). Here a group of young dragons is living in caves under a mountain, where they’ve been raised in secret. They’re supposed to be the five “dragonets” that will fulfill a prophecy to end a war between the dragon tribes. It started when a reigning queen was killed and her three daughters fought over the throne. Bringing in allies from other dragon tribes, the conflict just got bigger. When the five young dragons escape the cave, they find out quickly that in spite of all their training and studies, they’re unprepared for the outside world. They don’t know how things work, they’re unaware of customs among their own kind. Most notably, they are staunch friends to each other (well, for the most part) whereas any other dragon would only look out for himself- dragon motto seems to be kill or get killed- there’s lots of killing here. And many wish the young dragons of prophecy dead as well. But these dragonets are different- they don’t see violence as the best means to an end.

I think I see the end a mile coming- the dragonets won’t end the war through diplomacy or firepower, but by teaching the dragon races that peace, compromise and good leadership is better than fighting all the time. I was not surprised at the violence- they are dragons after all- but I was taken aback a few times how much the talking dragons just sounded like humans. Squabbling kids, really. I did like how this world has so many different types of dragons, each with their own specific physiology and abilities- some of which are unknown to the dragonets themselves at first. So the reader discovers that along with them. And there are dragons that don’t fit the norm- one that’s born smaller than the rest and the wrong color, one that has “too much fire” inside and her touch burns everything. Some of these differently-abled dragons are ignored and pushed aside by the rest, seen as being weak. Others are exploited for their quirks. Really my favorite character (or at least the most interesting) was Peril.

It’s kind of disturbing that the first major event when the dragonets leave the cave, is them falling into the claws of the Skywings queen who takes them captive and pits them against each other (and other dragons) in an arena. Just to satisfy her bloodlust and ease her boredom. So there’s that shocker introduction to some dragon culture, but then at the very end when Clay (the tough guy dragonet who’s a bit slow on the uptake) finally finds his home tribe, the family he was taken from when still in the egg, he discovers that Mudwing dragons don’t care for their young. They basically raise themselves. Like plenty reptiles in real life do. I’m curious what the other dragon types will turn out to be like, and how this set of kinder, companionable dragons will fare against their bloodthirsty kin. Not rushing out to borrow the rest of the series right away, but I know the library has a good number of them so it will be nice to dive into when I need something entertaining (as opposed to Oliver Sacks, which I was in the middle of when I set it down to read this instead).

Borrowed from my daughter.

Rating: 3/5
304 pages, 2012

3 Responses

  1. I really like that cover! “Chosen children who will fulfill a prophecy” is so commonplace now, but I like the twist of doing it with dragon-children instead.

    1. You should take a look at the rest of the covers. They kept catching my eye at the library, but I dithered for a long time to try the series, as the author was part of the Erin Hunter team and I wasn’t keen on the style of Warriors tbh. I’m hoping the rest of this series carries on just as good or better than the first book!

  2. Agreed on Warriors. I read a couple of them, but you only need to read a couple. They just recycle the same theme over and over and over and over again…

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