Kylie finds sanctuary in science, using it as an escape from constantly having to control her temper and keep the strange things she sees secret. Keeping her anger under control isn’t an easy task with the school bully signaling her out. The only solace she gets is from science class and her friendship with drama student Mark. When hiding in her step-father’s warehouse, Kylie discovers a portal that transports her and Mark into a world living in fear of a dangerous being called “The Dragon’s” return. The only person who can help her find a way home is the brother she never knew existed. Prince Jarlon lived his whole life in privilege until the beast attacked his kingdom. He and his friend Tryffin barely escaped with their lives, but their troubles have only just begun, as Jarlon is tasked with retrieving the Sword of Legends, free the enslaved cortali, and unite with his long-lost sister in order to battle the Dragon.
The story is split between the perspectives of Kylie and Jarlon, who each have their own journey to face. Kylie’s story has the tone and setting of an urban fantasy mixed with a coming-of-age journey, as she’s constantly battling the darkness within herself. She’s thrown into this fantasy world where magic exists and brings her face to face with her worst enemy, which is the darker part of her that is drawn out by the Dragon’s influence. To go against the Dragon she has to uncover the secrets her mother kept from her and be true to herself. Through Kylie’s story, Allison Morse also injects themes such as bullying, loneliness, and first crushes.
Jarlon’s journey is rooted in a hero’s quest complete with trials and an all-seeing guide who sends him on a quest to find the Sword of Legends, which is meant to help him defeat the Dragon, but while he’s on this quest he finds a call to rise up as a prince by freeing the cortali, who are enslaved by the shinwar. This is a prominent point in his journey, as he sees slavery of the cortali first hand and is faced with the question of what freedom truly means. Jarlon has confidence in his standing as a prince, but his confidence as a hero tends to waver, as his role as prince tends to be greater than warrior. He often needs someone to encourage him to lead him on the right path. Jarlon is a young prince whose opinion everyone values even though he’s fourteen, while Tryffin has to scrounge and work for everything he has while still being treated as inferior. Jarlon needs Tryffin to be his voice of reason and offer a realistic perspective that is honest in order to stay focused on his journey. Tryffin has a certain jealousy for the easier breaks Jarlon receives due to just being a prince, but the two have a friendship that’s at the heart of Jarlon’s story. They make each other better people–while Jarlon believes in Tryffin when no one else does, Tryffin believes in Jarlon when he doesn’t believe in himself.
The biggest themes Morse explores are the role of the outcast and the strength of friendship. Kylie is an outcast due to her temper and bizarre things her mother told her she was crazy for seeing. She’s constantly facing that stigma against her. Mark considers himself an outcast as a drama student who feels more at ease reciting a Shakespearean sonnet than actually being himself. As Kylie and Mark brave this magical world together, she learns to trust him and slowly begins to open up. Tryffin is an outcast to the cortali for being a digger and to Jarlon’s people for being a cortali, so he’s constantly fighting back against these images. Each of the four main characters is easy to relate to because of their journey to accept who they are or their struggle to rise up as the hero the people need. A brilliant young-adult read about freedom and friendship, Dragon’s Shadow is a blend of urban fantasy and epic adventure following the hero’s journey of two teenagers: one who is fighting against the sway of darkness and the other who must find the strength to free people from the Dragon’s control.
|Page Count||256 pages|
|Publisher||The Wild Rose Press|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|