I'm posting a review today to take part in Shannon Messenger's marvelous meme. If you don't follow her already, get your butt over to her blog. She's hysterical.
This week, I'm reviewing The Dragon's Tooth by N.D. Wilson. I had to write about it for school, so that's doubling as my review. I was gifted a copy by the author, but these thoughts are completely my own.
Also: The entire time, I imagined Wes Bentley/Seneca Crane as Rupert Greeves. (When I looked it over again, I realized that he's black, a detail I missed the first time. It doesn't change the epicosity level, though.)
For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.
Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.
N. D. Wilson, author of Leepike Ridge and 100 Cupboards, returns with an imagination-capturing adventure that inventively combines the contemporary and the legendary.
I don't read children's books very often, but when I happened to find myself with a copy of The Dragon's Tooth, I decided to give it a try. And I don't regret it. It was filled with a wide array of characters, all completely unique and different. My only complaint, character-wise, is that the main characters, Cyrus and Antigone Smith, seemed older than their respective 11 and 13 years.
My second problem was the perspective changes. Mostly, the book followed "Cy" and "Tigs," but there are the occasional switches; you get glimpses into the minds of minor characters once in a while, and it often slows the pace.
The best idea, though, was probably the man who launched the siblings’ adventure: an old friend of their deceased father, William Skelton, alias Billy Bones. He's intelligent, fearless, and a tragic character. You glean all this from the few pages he remains alive in.
I really loved the plot. It starts out bizarre, but when things settle down, they're mind-blowing. You have lightning bugs, which electrocute the entire area when their glass cases are smashed. There's Patricia the patrik, a snake that disappears whenever she swallows her tail. Most brilliant of all, though, was the antagonist: Dr. Phoenix, also known as Mr. Ashes, depending on his mood and the presence of a dirty and mysterious lab coat.
As a bonus, The Dragon's Tooth employs one of my favorite plot ideas of all time; I love when authors inundate history into their books. There are famous people mentioned in The Dragon's Tooth. Amelia Earhart has "explorer" status in the exclusive club the book centers around. A minor antagonist is an immortal named Maxi--short for Maximilian Robespierre.
Overall, The Dragon's Tooth was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot and I'm sure that if I had read it five years ago, it would have easily topped my list of favorites.
Rating: 4 stars. Very good
Current Music: Forever on the Dance Floor--covered by Mike Tompkins (originally by Chris Brown)