B is for Beyond the Dragon Portal

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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Beyond the Dragon Portal by Melissa Glenn Haber

Sadie is alone in an alien land of Dragons and fierce winged warriors. All she knows is that her little sister, Phoebe, has been taken as a pawn in a terrible, age-old conflict. She has only her own determination to find Phoebe and take her home, back through the Dragon Portal to Earth.

Beyond the Dragon Portal, nothing is as Sadie expects. The Dragons are at war with the fierce Barbazion, who have kidnapped her sister So is the tribe of brave desert nomads she meets. Sadie is burning to join them. But as the battle rages, Sadie slowly realizes that she cannot take sides. And most unexpected of all, she will have to save Phoebe on her own.

Since this was a MG book, it was a quick read for me. However, the story stuck with me when I finished. Like the Healing Wars trilogy by Janice Hardy, this story take on a serious theme and works with it on an age appropriate manner. War is not as clear cut as propaganda would have you believe. Both sides see validity in their perspective. Both sides can be both right and wrong at the same time.

Sadie may only be 11, but she is determined to save her sister. Dragonland looks so much different from the stories Phoebe had told, back when Sadie had thought they were only stories, not actual memories. There's lots of desolate grounds, devastated cities, and the ever-present fear of Barbazion attack. What she finally realizes makes her more heart-sick than any of that. And that war is more terrible than she thought, and she might be the only one who can prevent the massive battle that's about to happen.

I really felt for Sadie. She is like most kids her age, ordinary, interested in enjoying time with her friends, especially Picker. They'd planned to build a robot together. She's not a hero. She often felt inadequate to the task of finding and then saving her sister. Even when she came up with a plan, she knew it was full of holes, winging it so to speak. But love is a better motivation than hate and fear in determining who has the best claim, and Sadie does her best, even though she doesn't feel smart enough to succeed. Her best quality is that she is determined, indefatigable as her father once called her. I give this story 4 stars, and I plan to read this to my son after I get through the other books already on our list. Very good book.


Misha Gericke said...

Sounds like a great book, although I don't read a lot of Middle Grade. :-)

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Tia Bach said...

I have a MG reader in my house, and I think she would like this one. Thanks for sharing.

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