Dragon Castle by Joseph Bruchac (2011)

The Dark Lord raised his hand, his palm glowing as if it were a burning hand. He lowered it and great gouts of lightning came pouring down from the black cloud (p 23).

Rashko and Paulek are princes in a very peaceful kingdom. Then their benevolent but slightly bemused parents disappear in the middle of the night, a herald brings an enchanted letter announcing the arrival of The Great and Honorable Baron Temny and a large, well-armed host of men arrive at the castle gates. Rashko seems the only one worried as the pixilated Paulek lowers the drawbridge.

In alternating chapters, we learn the history of the magical castle, Hladka Hvorka, and the hero of its people, Pavol.

This charming fantasy with a slew of interesting characters, smooth prose, and whimsical anicdotes was just what I needed. It is a gentle read appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Library Copy | Dial Books for Young Readers | Ages 12 up | 333 pages | ISBN 978-0803733763 | $16.99

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