By Cornelia Funke
Published in 2004 in the US by Scholastic/ The Chicken House. Translated from German. Originally published in 1997.
A dragon (Firedrake) and a brownie (Sorrel) set out in search of the Rim of Heaven after their valley is threatened by humans. They embark on this journey as a last resort… but they are not alone. Along the way they come across The Golden One, whose aim is to hunt down all the dragons.
Firedrake and Sorrel meet many creatures along the way. One of them is Ben, a human boy who eventually helps the odd duo to complete their journey. Another is Twigleg, a homunculus who is a spy for Nettlebrand the Golden One, but he too ends up going on an unexpected journey.
The entire book revolves around the odd party finding the Rim of Heaven, eventually doing so with the help of some new friends.
I loved this book as a child… I think because of the freedom the main characters had. Yes they had a mission and there was danger as the protagonists were continuously chased by the bad guy, but I think that’s what kept it interesting for me. They could fly all over the world and explore strange wonderful places with is a cool thing.
There wasn’t much character development. Sorrel continues to be hungry throughout the book and there is zero back story to Ben; he just appears out of nowhere, a willing ally. Funke created a very placid version of the dragon, which I’m not really exposed to. In folklore and most fantasy, they are blood thirsty killers who are just downright dangerous. Having read the Deltora novels beforehand, it’s just strange to be reading about dragons who live off moonlight. But to each their own. Funke has created a world which seems relatively sound, even if it’s not in tune with how dragons are portrayed in most stories.
I would recommend this book to young readers. It’s interesting, has plenty of twists, and maintains momentum.