Bringing the mythological world into a modern setting and introducing young adult readers to a variety of strange monsters, this fantasy novel follows 12-year-old Joe Copper, as he travels along in his quest to save humankind. When Joe is hired by the eccentric Mrs. Merrynether as an errand boy at her remarkable veterinary practice—a hidden refuge for a menagerie of creatures that should only exist in dreams and legend—he soon learns that she has a startling plan for his future: he is destined to command an army of beasts to protect humanity from the Conclave—a brutal council of dragons hiding on a distant island. But Joe is plunged into his new role prematurely when the callous tycoon Argoyle Redwar, who has a secret menagerie of his own, tricks Mrs. Merrynether into revealing the location of the island. Overcoming his fears, the school bully, and an escaped creature on the loose in his own village, Joe races to the island to stop Redwar from provoking the dragons to war. He takes the most bizarre team imaginable: Lilly, the surly alcoholic cluricaun; Danariel, the seraph who lives in a lightbulb; Flarp, the giant flying eyeball who can’t control his excitement; Kiyoshi, the narcoleptic kappa with an extraordinary vocabulary; Snappel, the fiery wyvern plagued by hiccups; and Cornelius, the poisoned manticore. Together with newfound allies on the island, the champions are forced into an epic battle against fantastic odds, facing not only the Conclave but Redwar as he seeks total control.
This story reminded me in a vague way of Alice in Wonderland. Based in England, the story is full of mystical and dangerous creatures who put young Joe Copper in harm's way again and again. But only until he becomes the only human standing between ages old dragons and the extinction of the human race. Although some of the animals that author Simon West-Bulford has created seem almost silly, his writing is so spectacular that these animals come across as noble, or tragic, or wise. The plot is believable and exciting. The danger will keep you up at night looking under the bed for monsters. Great story for anyone who wants a thrill.
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by~Cindi Clubbs
Thank you to the author for the donation of this book to the Read for your Future book program in exchange for a honest review!