Friday, January 17, 2014

Dragon Defender - Book Review & 2 Giveaways

Dragon Defender - Blog Tour Button  J.A. Blackburn

About the Book

Title: Dragon Defender (Dragon Defense League, Book #1)
Author: J.A. Blackburn
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Publisher: Pip & Grey
Number of pages: 242
Recommended age: 10+
Summary (Amazon): For over a thousand years dragons have existed in secret . . .

Peter Clark can build a robot from scratch and pick a lock in two minutes or less. But he can't figure out why his mother left or why his grandma refuses to talk about her. When Uncle Dominick shows up on Peter's twelfth birthday with a letter that hints at answers and an incredible story about dragons, Peter follows him, determined to find out the truth about his mother's disappearance.

What he finds is a reality far different from what he ever could have imagined - where dragons live in hiding, hunted by poachers for their magical parts, and a small group of men and women work tirelessly to protect them. These are the Dragon Defenders. Peter's uncle is one. So was his mother. Now it's Peter's turn.

* Finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2013 Literary Contest *

My Review

The story started off with an unusual nasty thunderstorm which to me, perhaps signifies that it is the beginning of a new chapter for the twelve year old Peter Clark.  On this same stormy night Uncle Dominick, whom Peter heard of but couldn't remember meeting ever, paid a visit to him at Grandma's house.  He came to seek Peter's help but not before telling him the bizarre story about their family and Dragon Defense League, their special calling that was passed down since the Middle Ages.  He also told Peter a little about his mother whom he has not seen since she dropped him off at Grandma's when he was 5 years old.

Shortly after that and much to the disapproval of Grandma, Peter sneaked off to find Uncle Dominick where they embarked on a journey to Mexico in search of a newly hatched Cuélebre dragon egg, a first egg after two hundred years.  They must find and move it to a safe place before the Knights of White Rose lay their hands on it.  In the midst of the adventure, Peter got separated from Uncle Dominick but not before he took the egg from its nest, away from the knights.  From there onwards its up to Peter to bring the egg to a safe place, but where and how?  With a little help from 2 kids,Xana & Mario whom he befriended along the way, the trio fought with their life to protect the precious egg.

The story is filled with excitement and actions, I especially like the part where Ix-Tub-Tan, the Cuélebre dragon fights with the evil Knights of White Rose to protect her baby.  I was drawn into the scene and felt the tense moments when it seems that the dragon is losing the fight but with a lash of her tail she sent them flying into the air WooHoo~

Much as I love this book, there are a few areas that I feel lacking some thing in some way.  Reading into eht early part of the book, I couldn't help but wonder how could Peter cross over the border and into Mexico without any passport or papers?  There are a few amazing characters in the book but they were not written enough to show their personality.  For example Mario, the orphan Mexican boy who lived in an old car.  I would think that he is street smart and would have great ideas when caught in situations but I did not see him shine through, which is kinda of disappointing.  Some events were not explained clearly enough like how did Uncle Dominick escaped from the Knights.  

I love the ending though, where Peter forge a special connection with Ix-Tub-Tan, his first unua.  I will be looking forward to the next book as I want to find out what exactly happened to Peter's mother and her mysterious disappearance.  Most of all I would love to read more about the many other dragons which Peter will be discovering.

More Buzz About the Book

"We read an advance copy of this book on kindle earlier this year and our 5th grade son read it twice and is anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. Great adventure, really kept our interest reading it together at night. This was one of the kids books I most enjoyed reading myself as well. The characters and the plot are well developed, and appealing to a wide range of kids (both genders). The writing is sophisticated but easy to understand, not 'dumbed down' like many kids books. The subject of dragons was so well crafted that it's easy believe that dragons just might exist, after all." ~ 5 Star Review, Leigh A., Amazon

"Reminiscent of the Fablehaven series (with just the right touch of Harry P.) this middle grade book is both an adventure and a pleasure...Fast-paced and full of wonder, this book takes middle grade readers on a vivid journey from the southwestern U.S. to Mexico; where jungles, ancient ruins and local folklore add to the enchantment that Peter finds when he discovers that dragons are in fact, real. As a former elementary school teacher, my strong feeling is that kids will eat this book whole, and then turn to searching for dragon eggs in their own backyards!" ~ 5 Star Review, Grace W., Amazon

"Dragon Defender was an absorbing action packed read! The author pulls you in from the first page and I'm not sorry to say I read it all in the first day. I'm 33 but still! This is a fun book for a chapter a night with your 5 year old (my son is loving it so far) or for yourself. The characters are well developed so you feel like you're really there, and the dragon is so believable. I'd venture so far as to say I had to remind myself that dragons don't really exist.... or do they?" ~ 5 Star Review, MGC, Amazon


About the Author: J.A. Blackburn

J. A. Blackburn lives in Seattle, Washington in a small white house overlooking the sea with her husband, Jason, her son, Camden, and their dog, Bella. Dragon Defender is her first novel.

Giveaway #1

* An autographed Dragon Defender paperback *

Prize: An autographed Dragon Defender paperback
Contest runs: January 17th to January 23, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Giveaway #2

* $50 Blog Tour Giveaway *

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest runs: January 6th to January 31, 11:59 pm, 2014
Open: Internationally
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, J.A. Blackburn and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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Disclaimer : We received a pdf copy of the book Dragon Defender for the purpose of giving our honest review on the book. Jenny Blackburn has generously sponsored the autographed Dragon Defender paperback for our giveaway.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny what you said about the passport, because going back over my notes, I had written that down as a sticking point too! I'm glad you enjoyed the book overall though. Thanks so much for joining us in the Dragon Defender Blog Tour. :-)