Rise of the Shadow Dragons by Liz Flanagan

The much mytholigised fire breathing dragon inhabits childrens’ nightmares before traumatising their waking moments with involuntary checks for singed eyebrows and pleas for parental re-assurances that the house is monster proof. Yet in Liz Flanagan’s sequel to Dragon Daughter we are presented with an unexpected antidote to the winged tormentor who lurks in those dark places. Instead we have a breed of avian superhero whose symbiotic bond with their human pilots enables their fiery powers to be harnessed for good rather than evil.

Joe Thornsen is the aspiring dragon rider whose burning ambition to fly is dependent on a mystical selection ceremony that pairs a human with an embryonic dragon – this fantasy top gun selection process, for budding Norlander aviators, looks for the spiritual rather than physical connection.
This instinctive relationship between dragon and human reflects the elemental nature of the plot structure with Air, Fire, Water and Earth underpinning the struggle for survival faced by the key protagonists – Joe and Winter – as they seek to both confront and embrace these life giving, and taking, properties that are inextricably linked in this Middle-Earth world.

The serendipitous discovery of shadow dragon eggs, in the labyrinth of caves below Arcosi, is the redemptive moment which ultimately provides Joe with a path back to his family and the opportunity to validate himself, following the calamitous events of hatching day that forced him into hiding.

If he’s able to unlock the puzzle of the caves Joe will then hold the key to the survival of his people, whose very existence is threatened by a natural force more powerful than they can imagine. In this desperate, tension filled struggle to embrace the past and give meaning to the future the author’s ability to bring the words to life, in a story embedded with vibrant images, comes to the fore as the imagination is left reeling from an overload of monsters and derring-do which has to be the perfect escape from our prolonged bout of lockdown fever.

Rise of the Shadow Dragons by Liz Flanagan (Published by DFB. Price £10.99 – hardback). Buy it at Amazon.

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