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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-5-0
  • 300 pages
  • $4.99
Paperback Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-3-6
  • 292 pages
  • $11.99
Hardcover Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-4-3
  • 300 pages
  • $24.99
Bradley's Dragons

Children/Young Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

The hunters are coming. The first time a hunter came for him, Bradley Nash was only nine years old. That was three years ago. Now, he lives with his family in a Florida trailer park. He doesn’t remember the attack, doesn’t know anything about hunters, or dragons, or even magic. As his twelfth birthday approaches, however, his peaceful life starts falling apart. The hunters are coming, and if Bradley doesn’t figure out exactly who and what he is, everything he’s ever known will be destroyed.
Reviews
This imaginative middle grade adventure by writer and game designer Matthews (Dragon Run) blends coming-of-age soul-searching with high-stakes fantasy action. At age nine, Bradley had a run-in with a would-be kidnapper, an incident that left him with debilitating anxiety. When he turns 12, his parents explain that he’s about to undergo a magical transformation into a dragon. Bradley’s parents, also dragons, have been waiting for centuries for a child who displays the gallu draig, the power to transform or “hatch” into a dragon. Before he can begin to discover the central purpose that will shape his unique draconian form and powers, Bradley is once again targeted by the kidnappers, evil fae who drain the gallu draig from unhatched dragons. They threaten to wipe out Bradley’s entire dragon clan. Bradley’s parents and aunt try to protect him, and his fear paralyzes him, but in the end it still falls to him to save the day.

The premise of a preteen protagonist being thrust into a magical world will be familiar to seasoned fantasy readers, but Matthews puts his own stamp on it, focusing on the inner conflict of Bradley’s yearning to be respected and take action even as he feels terrified and weak. Unfortunately, the confusing power abilities and restrictions of different dragons and fae complicate an otherwise intriguing premise, and the dynamics of various alliances are briefly sketched or left for readers to puzzle over.

Teen readers will connect easily with Bradley’s quests to graduate from his safe but stifling childhood into a brave and active adulthood, master his panic attacks, and discover his passion. Those readers’ parents will appreciate the minimal violence, few and bloodless deaths (defeated fae vanish in a pop of light), and warmly present family. Bradley’s watchful mother, gruff father, clever aunt, and adorable younger sister are a pleasure to spend time with. A compelling cast of characters with rich backstories round out this fantastical story of a scared kid learning to stand up to bullies and be true to himself.

Takeaway: This good-hearted transformation fantasy about finding the strength to overcome fear will appeal to readers on the cusp of adolescence.

Great for fans of Sarah Nicolas's Dragons Are People, Too, Marc Secchia.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-5-0
  • 300 pages
  • $4.99
Paperback Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-3-6
  • 292 pages
  • $11.99
Hardcover Details
  • 07/2020
  • 978-1-7330777-4-3
  • 300 pages
  • $24.99

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