Monday, November 4, 2013

Blast of the Dragon's Fury (Andy Smithson #1)

By L.R.W. Lee

About the Book:
From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.

Review:
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely love a good fantasy story, especially when it is set in a new world/realm/dimension. It takes an imaginative author with strong world building skills to even tackle a fantasy story. In Blast of the Dragon's Fury, author L.R.W. Lee's imagination creates a realistic fantasy world that middle graders and adults alike can enjoy.

Though the main city is cursed with fog, Lee uses a bit of potty humor to assist with clearing the air. I literally had to reread the paragraph explaining how they cleared the air. I thought surely I didn't just read that. Yup, I did. I burst out laughing. This is perfect for middle graders, and I have to admit adults will smile too.

I loved how Lee subtly entwined morals and ethics in the plot line of her book. The book begins with a ghost princess seeking revenge. The revenge lesson doesn't come full circle in the book-- because it's the basis of the series--but readers see how a bad guy can actually turn into a good guy and regret his previous actions. I wonder if Lee will add a plot twist so that the revenge seeking ghost learns to forgive and let go of grudges. Lee also sneaks other lessons in her story such as tell the truth, even if you think it will cause more trouble for yourself, and do the right thing, even if you don't feel like it. These are good lessons for kids, teens and adults.

My one push back would be that Andy didn't question getting home to his family. He accepted the new world and quickly acclimated himself to his situation and surroundings. I liked that he had a go with the flow attitude because it allowed the action to happen quicker. As an adult reader though, if I were in his shoes, I would be trying to figure out how I was able to come to Oomaldee and what my exit strategy would be to get back to my family.

Lee sets the pace of the story to capture middle grade reader's attention spans. There are spurts of adventure/danger/action/etc. followed by a brief down time before the characters are thrown back into more adventure/danger/action/etc. This is perfect for readers (of any age), who don't want to read a book in one sitting, but only have time (or attention spans) to read through one or two thrilling scene at a time. It makes reading fun.

One thing readers will notice (because Andy surely did), is that the story ends abruptly. Andy is pulled back into the real world as quickly as he left it. This just allows readers to eagerly await the release of the next book in the series to see if the curse can be broken. It isn't a bad cliffhanger because Andy's quest was completed, but it's not the entire tale either.

I would definitely recommend this to readers who enjoy a good fantasy adventure story. There's no romance and only mild violence  (Andy has to battle dragons, after all). This is perfect for middle graders, but teens and adults can easily enjoy it as well.

About author L.R.W. Lee:

Since the age of eight, L. R. W. Lee wanted to write a children’s book, but felt she did not have anything significant to share; she sought to change lives while entertaining. A degree in Accounting did not provide riveting fodder for a best seller, so she waited. Over a decade, she founded and grew a company, during which, she worked closely with a mentor from whom she learned uncommon thinking that changed her life. After selling her business in early 2012, she had time to write and, more importantly, something significant to share.

L. R. W. Lee lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband, daughter and son.

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