Dragon Rider is a middlegrade fantasy epic by the best-selling author Cornelia Funke.
Firedrake and the rest of the dragons have lived in relative peace in a secluded valley. The only real thing to complain about, perhaps, was the rain that made them melancholy. But dragons are easily melancholy. Which is where the furry, mushroom-loving brownies come in, a dragon's natural companion - of which Firedrake has, specifically a fiery little brownie named Sorrel.
However, one morning the rat named Rosa hurried to the dragons and declared what she'd always known - that their peace couldn't last forever. Humans were on their way to see about building in that very valley - and humans had become far more advanced over the years. Rose was hard-pressed to convince the old-fashioned dragons that hiding and waiting for the humans to leave was not going to be enough - but Firedrake pondered.
The legend of the Rim of Heaven - a haven for dragons - has always been no more than a story passed down over many generations. Though young, Firedrake's courage wins out over his organic need for rest and calm and he and Sorrel set out on the very, very long journey to find the Rim of Heaven and find the dragons a safe, permanent home.
Along the way, they cross paths with a lonely, homeless little boy named Ben, a cruel and stubborn villain with an inclination to destroy dragons, and a bunch of other creatures and obstacles. But as they reach closer to their destination, those aboard the long, arduous flight begin to realize they may in fact be fulfilling their own epic destinies...
I've heard of Cornelia Funke and seen her name all over the place, but have never personally read a book by her before. But when I saw the cover of this one, it sort of enchanted me. It reminded me of the special feeling a really good "children's" fantasy adventure can bring you - and I settled in for a nice, long (at over 500 pages), hopefully enjoyable read.
And, oh it was!
Right away I kinda fell in love with the traditional flavor of the fantasy, the creatively imagined creatures, and the quickly established goals. And with the gentle, sweet introduction of Ben, I started to get seriously charmed. The modern setting mixed with the immense fairytale mythology was lovely, and felt warm and cozy. I could just settle in and go on the journey with these vivacious, colorful, memorable, quotable characters!
Dragon Rider was awesome, fanciful, imaginative, and pure fun. Cornelia Funke gives her cast great names and personalities and creates a lively tale that reminds you that not every great book needs romance, angst, shocks, and gore. Which I didn't necessarily think before, anyway - but its nice to change the pace a bit and read something so wholesome and family oriented. The novel made me happy - Dragon Rider is cheerful and accessible by all ages that love a good, epic tale!
I was happily delighted with this captivating, adventurous tale, and found that I cared deeply and sincerely for these characters - leaving me with the impression that Dragon Rider is an engaging, unforgettable, graceful, kindhearted, humorous, tender quest that brings to the forefront the values of bravery, friendship, family, and home-sweet-home!
Dragon Rider, in my opinion, should be gighly recommended to all of you book lovers that like a lovely, old-fashioned, family friendly, funny, classic sort of fantasy journey! And maybe even to those of you who have never tried one, and don't even know how much you'll love it - yet! ;)