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Dragon Castle Hardcover – June 9, 2011
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Prince Rashko has a problem. On the horizon marches a large army of foes, clearly bent on conquering his castle. His parents, not the brightest sorts to begin with, have been lured away to fairyland in the interim and don't look like they'll be home for a while. His older brother Paulek, meanwhile, keen to invite the invaders in for some good old fashioned sparring exercises, let's them in without a second thought. Their castle, the impressive Hladka Hvorka, was raised by the legendry hero Pavol and it houses a secret. A secret the army's evil Baron wants. A secret Rashko will have to use all his ingenuity to protect.Read more ›
The book is entertaining enough, the coming-of-age story of a young Slovakian prince, Rashko, whose parents have disappeared just as a nasty visitor arrives on their castle's doorstep. The only people home are his "lame-brained" brother, Paulek, and their servants and tutors. There is lots of magic and action, which will appeal to boys in particular.
There is an unreliable narrator, a detail I love, and it's pretty well executed by Bruchac. Dragon Castle interweaves a "legendary" time period and a later one that holds the central narrative. The latter was occasionally confusing, and I'm not sure Bruchac relayed the alternating timelines in the most articulate way.
Yes, this is a fairy tale, but there were certain events and characters that I found hard to believe. Also, I thought the "love interests" that appear at the end seemed tacked-on. They added nothing to the plot (except perhaps bringing in some female characters in a male-heavy book). I think these failures will hinder older teens and adults from thoroughly enjoying this book, which surprised me. Usually Joseph Bruchac's books appeal to a wide audience, I think.
There is no bad language, nothing truly objectionable. It would be appropriate for kids aged 11 and up.