on 1 July 2012
I first read this book in Year 5, when a friend gave it to me for my birthday. I wasn't particularly captivated by the blurb or front cover, but as I was bored I decided to give it a shot anyway.
I am very glad indeed that I did! Sitting in my sunny garden with a glass of lemonade, I was enraptured by the tale of Creelisle Carlburn; the fifteen year old girl with a breathtaking talent for embroidery and sewing.
The beginning idea of the story, involving Creel's ridiculous aunt, I found to be a little unbelievable. I accepted it nonetheless, and since it is a minor part of the overall story, I decided it did not matter.
Her aunt, apparently, read a lot of romantic poems and books, so - as one does - decided it would be wise to give her niece to the village's infamous dragon, and then claim to the villagers that she had been stolen. This of course would lead to Creel being rescued by the Lord's son, and marrying him - taking her family out of poverty.
As you can imagine, Creel was terrified, but thinking that with some money she could make her way to the capital and find work, she was able to bargain with the dragon (who was not up for the idea of fighting a lovesick noble) that she would leave him alone if he gave her something from his magnificent hoard.
To Creel's dismay, Theoradus the dragon collected shoes; not gold.
Regardless, she searched for a sensible pair of shoes with which she could walk to the capital. However she found herself falling in love with a beautiful pair of slippers, which fitted her perfectly. So she selected them and set off for her new life.
But Creel's new slippers are not just any slippers, and they cause her no end of trouble as she finds work in an expensive dress shop, befriends a prince and a dragon and highly offends the future queen. Creel dreams of the Merchant's Ball, where anyone can gain a sponsor and start a business with the right talent.
But why does the future queen desire her slippers? And more importantly - why do her feet itch so much?
A charming book with descriptions of such intricate embroidery upon elegant gowns it had me almost swooning.
I could not put the book down then, and now as I re-read it for the billionth time I am still gripped. I just found out there is a second book, and have ordered it. Fingers crossed it is just as good!
Creel's parents have passed away. Her family wants to take care of her brother, because he's useful on the farm, but her aunt doesn't believe that she's got anything to contribute. Instead she gives Creel to a dragon in the hope that she will attract a handsome nobleman brave enough to rescue her. Fortunately Creel can take care of herself very well. She leaves the cave of the dragon very much alive with a new pair of slippers. She's determined to make it to the capital where she wants to look for work as an embroiderer. First she makes a detour as she befriends a dragon named Shardas. When she leaves him he tells her she can always call him. Creel finds a job in the city and soon she's making new friends. The trouble starts when somebody steals her slippers. Creel discovers they aren't normal slippers, there's something very special about them that some nasty, powerful people can use very well. Will she be able to get them back and prevent a disaster from happening?
The Dragonskin Slippers is the first book of an amazing trilogy. Creel is kind, intelligent and brave. She's a perfect heroine. She's also creative and inventive. She finds a way out of every dire situation. I loved that Jessica Day George managed to combine the very feminine side of Creel with the fierce and tough side of her. Creel makes beautiful dresses with intricate embroidery patterns and she battles her enemies together with the dragons. She flies on a dragon's back regularly and she's quite fearless. In the meantime she also manages to befriend a prince. Creel is awesome and the same goes for the dragons. I enjoyed reading this book so much. The friendships are special and the story is magical, they are making Dragonskin Slippers truly amazing!
What a marvelous surprise this book turned out to be. Initially, I was taken by the deadpan humor of the spirited and common-sensical heroine. (She's very much like Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching.) But as I read on I appreciated the novel treatment of the dragons, the colorful descriptions of Creel's apprenticeship, and the developing plot.
This isn't really a magic book. By that I mean that most magical fantasies aimed at this reading age group tend to use magic lazily as a way out of plot deadends or as a basis for a lot of alchemy hocus-pocus. In "Dragon Slippers" there is magic of a sort, but it just feels like a natural part of the overall story. And, one is certainly willing to forgive coincidences and some plot shortcuts, because they keep the book streamlined and entertaining.
An added bonus is that the heroine's friendships with various sidekicks and secondary characters have some real substance, and are not there solely to move the story along. Similarly, the wide variety of the personalities of the different dragons adds unexpected depth to the tale. There is some real emotional attachment among the characters and just a light touch of romance to round out the package and keep the overall tone of the book light. Needless to say, the quality of the writing is well above the norm for this age group, and you will encounter no cliches or overheated awkwardness. Just a delicate touch, but with a lot of spirit.
on 17 March 2013
A spectacular fantasy about fire-breathing dragons, and a young ordinary maid who is left by a cave which is told to have a dragon inside it! The more the maid (Creel) spends time with the dragons, the more she trusts them, but will she trust them enough to fight against the evil with them? A thrilling story which I always reread and enjoy.
on 3 May 2009
It's a modern lightweight fantasy complete with heroine, hero, dragon and knight. I loved it and yes I'm old enough to pay tax! If you are a lover of fantasy and enjoy reading a thoroughly well written favourite story over again, this is it, you just haven't read it yet. There are no great surprises but rather a delicate sashay through fairy tale. Definitely one for the young at heart - a good page turner for a sunny day in the garden.
on 10 May 2009
Personally, I don't read much fantasy. But this book... this is enough to make anyone change their mind! I borrowed the book off a friend who simply said it was 'fantastic, really good' and didn't get round to reading it til a couple of weeks later. I started it at about 10:30pm one night when I couldn't sleep - and instantly regretted it, as I couldn't read much before I fell asleep! The book had me enthralled just from reading the first few pages and I continued the next morning basically as soon as I woke up. The story of Creel (Creelisel Carlbrun) and her newfound dragon friends is fabulous, heartwarming and downright brilliant! Although the writing can be simple at times for more advanced readers, this does not affect the action and general feeling of the book at all, and aside from this the writing style is smooth and fast-paced near the end - which in itself is a hold-your-breath, squeal-in-excitement climactic ending - completely spectacular. The rest of the book deserves its praise too, and there could not be a word said against the plot - well-thought out and with a magnificent twist, this book will pull in anyone from 10 to 100! Really pulls out the inner child!!! I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading a unique, fascinating, engaging novel - you won't be disappointed!