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Lily Quench and the Dragon of Ashby Paperback – 8 Jan 2004
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Sent to face a giant, fire-breathing dragon by the evil Count - it seems things are getting a little bit heated for Lily Quench! But even though Lily discovers that she is actually the last in a long line of dragon slayers, Queen Dragon doesn't turn out to be the man-eating (or even girl-eating) monster that she expects. Soon Lily and Queen Dragon embark on a magical quest to save the kingdom from destruction - and restore the lost heir, Prince Alwyn, to his throne with the help of some very unexpected allies on the way!
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A really good read for children of around 7 - 8 years upwards. It has all the elements of fantasy and magic - dragons, dungeons, talking monkeys, a secret wood and more. It is well-written and imaginative and very funny in parts, with a great take on good and evil, and some nice illustrations.
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This is perhaps one of the most obscure book series I have ever read. The only place I have ever come across them is in used book stores, even Amazon only sells already bought copies! This surprises me immensely because of how wonderful this series is. Written for older elementary school kids, the series has always captured my attention. I first came across them when I was in the appropriate age group and adored them, though I only had numbers 4-7. Recently I came across number 2 and 3 and so decided to re-read the series. (Only to discover I had misplaced 5…). Re-reading the series I was stunned to realize that these books still perfectly captured my attention though I am quickly entering my late teens. Though they may be children’s books they are written with more brilliance then half the adult books I read and I thoroughly believe that if these books were merged into one they could be an immensely popular teen book. Natalie Jane Prior does a wonderful job of creating dimensional characters and a unique mythology for the land in which Lily Quench lives, seeking to save her country countless times with the aid of her dragon friend. If you are to ever come across any of these books, do not hesitate to pick it up. You will sympathize for the fatherless count, struggling to regain his father’s empire because that’s what his father wanted to do when he died, though his father happened to be a man akin to Hitler. You will be horrified at the magicians who are consumed by greed and seek ends to horrifying to contemplate for long. Most of all you will be caught up in the mystery of the eye stones as it unravels before you over the last five books. And you will rejoice as in the final books a true resolution is reached. I cannot recommend these books highly enough. Overall, read them. Now.
1) The main antagonist is a scheming torturess. No descriptions of torture are made, but the threat is constant. This caused real conflict in our family, as I was put on the spot trying not to explain to an 9-year old what an Iron Maiden is.
2) The males are either retiring, passive nerds, or raging-male figures -- hardly a wholesome palette from which to form positive opinions of boys and men.
3) Bald-faced ripoffs from the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings crop up quite often. "Derivative" is putting it mildly.
I imagine the author fancies herself Roald Dahl's literary heir. Whereas Dahl's works are often entertaining-subversive, Ms. Prior's stuff is merely tiresome-perverse.
A great book with a great plot.