“Dragons of Deltora 1: Dragon’s Nest”
By Emily Rodda
Published in 2004 by Scholastic, New York.
This is a teenager/ child fantasy book set in Deltora, a kingdom which has just managed to triumph over a great evil by winning the war aganst the Shadow Lord. However, the crops are failing, the rivers are empty… the land is dying. A young king named Lief attempts to find out what is causing this, and sets out with his two trusted companions Jasmine and Barda to restore Deltora to what it once was. He has to travel to the four corners of the kingdom to destroy the evil sorcery that is slowly killing everything. It’s the first instalment of a four book series, and it deals with the Eastern side of the kingdom.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this book. Even though it’s intended for a younger audience, I still found it an interesting read. There isn’t too much jargon, the text is straight to the point. The character descriptions aren’t separate, they are incorporated into the main text, and most of the qualities the characters posess are shown through their actions and decisions, rather than described.
There is some death in this book; there is an impending sense of doom. The characters are continually faced with peril and challenges. There are some puzzles and maps that are illustrated, but these are pretty cool. They give a sense of the world the characters are in, as these are supposed to be the objects they are looking at in the book. There is a good balance between character dialogue, action, plotting, which gives a good pace to the narrative.
I think children or young teenagers who like fantasy and adventure books would really like this. I know now why I liked it so much as a kid, and I still think it’s a pretty good book.