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Spotlight on: Children of the Dragon by Keith Gouveia

To arrange to have products considered for review, send an email to craigsbookclub@yahoo.com.

Children of the Dragon by Keith Gouveia Keith Gouveia, Children of the Dragon

Great Germaine is a peaceful continent on a parallel world. Its king offers his throne to anyone who can defeat him in battle, and one day a man takes the challenge. The king killed this man's father in a similar battle and he has wanted revenge ever since. He has sold his soul for the ability to steal the power of Great Germaine's magical creatures. By killing them, each death increases his power, the lives of dragons, ogres, fairies, et cetera, taken to support his malevolent whims.

Meanwhile, in our world, Ricky and Alyssa are enchanted by a statue in an antique shop. The mysterious shopkeeper gives it to them for free and, upon taking it home, it transports them to Great Germaine, where they are endowed with magic powers by a pair of dragons. They immediately find themselves swept up in the battle to defeat the appropriately named Balthazar Despot before he can become all-powerful. But all they really want to do is go home to their father.

With Children of the Dragon, author (Killing Faith, Devil's Playground) and editor (Small Bites, the Charles L. Grant benefit anthology) Keith Gouveia leaves the horror genre temporarily and dives head first into fantasy adventure, writing his first novel for children in the process.

By writing for children, Gouveia has managed to recapture the fascination that children have with storytelling. It's pretty clear that Gouveia's intention was to put his own children into their own fantasy adventure, given that their names are the same and their personalities feel so genuine, which leads to a rather unconventional narrative, but even so, Children of the Dragon seems less to have been written for children than written by them. His story is filled with the childlike ability to make anything happen that you want just by saying it -- wish for special powers, and you get them. This cuts down somewhat on the suspense, which may turn off more mature readers, but for the rest of us, it only adds to the fun.

Childishness aside, Gouveia's skill and experience also shine through, especially in his ability to convey a sense of place. Great Germaine may be a figment of his (and now my) imagination, but I feel as if I could find my way around with only this book as a guide. If you are in the right mood to go along with it, Children of the Dragon is a fantastic read. Offer it to some kids you know when they're crying for something to read while waiting for the next Harry Potter.

Then read it yourself.

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