The Crackledawn Dragon was my most anticipated MG release of 2021 and it did not disappoint!
Zeb's life is filled with broken promises, lost homes and loneliness. When he finds himself cornered by a Harpy who promises him his own world in return for a favour, he can't see much point in saving the current one - particularly when he has a strong suspicion the Harpy will react badly to him saying no. Zeb is immediately whisked off to Crackledawn on the back of a dragon made of bones, where the sun chatters instead of shining and friends appear in the most unlikely of places.
The third novel in the Unmapped Chronicles series was just as exciting and magical as those before it.
I've been reading these stories with my six year old and she loves the endless wonder of Elphinstone's world. There's action and adventure to be found in every chapter, ensuring that the pace never slows and young readers never lose interest. Monsters and perils aplenty will keep you turning the pages long after bedtime.
There's plenty of humour too, as well as wonderful characters who grow in the most extraordinary of ways. Zeb, Oonie and the incredible Mrs Flickletint were all so much fun and readers will root for all three - as well as everyone else they encounter on their bid to save the world from Morg. Both Zeb and Oonie show that anyone can be a hero, and that hope and courage can often achieve more than physical strength. No matter how Morg stacks the odds against them, they never give up and have the bravery to trust in others even when doing so feels impossible.
As with all of Elphinstone's novels, The Crackledawn Dragon contains strong messages of hope, friendship and learning to trust those around you. The Unmapped Chronicles is a series which encourages young readers to see the wonder and good in the world, but never feels didactic. The environmental themes are handled with a similarly light touch, but will still inspire readers to seek out the beauty in our own world.