Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dragon Mage-Andre Norton and Jean Rabe

Dragon Mage
Andre Norton and Jean Rabe
Tor, Jan 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780765316502

Following the heart attack death of her forty-nine year old father, Shilo’s paternal grandparents take the teen from Marietta, Georgia into their home in Slade’s Corner, Wisconsin. Shilo is grateful because she knows she has no place else to go except perhaps her older brother’s Atlanta apartment; but between him and his pregnant wife there is no corner for a fifteen year old. However, she is also bored as she feels she landed in Hades as life in a small town living above an antique store is not very exciting.

Her kindhearted grandmother encourages Shilo to look at her late father’s stuff that they stored in boxes as a means of learning more about his childhood. In all the cartons the most interesting items are very old puzzles with each different yet containing the picture of a dragon. Her grandmother explains that Shy’s dad had quite an imagination as he would tell his parents about his adventures in another realm where a dragon ruled. Unable to put any puzzle totally together as pieces seemed missing, Sly finally realizes that this is one master puzzle not multiples. When she finishes assembling the giant puzzle, Shy finds herself in ancient Babylon serving an ancient dragon and studying to be a DRAGON MAGE just like her dad did as she must complete his work to simply save the world.

In spite of a Forward explaining how the sequels to Andre Norton’s classic DRAGON MAGIC came about, I am not sure how much the late Ms. Norton provided (beyond a needlework depicting the four dragons). My previous impression was her last work was A TASTE OF MAGIC in which Jean Rabe used Ms. Norton’s writings notes to complete the fantasy. Regardless, DRAGON MAGE is an entertaining young adult fantasy that readers of all ages will enjoy as the modern day heroine goes back several millenniums in her father’s footsteps to become an American in a dragon king’s Babylonian court.

Harriet Klausner

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