The cover pulled me in from the get go. When I heard the story was partially set in my home state, I couldn’t resist. The story begins in Colorado Springs where Willow lives with her mother and the newly arrived uncle and cousins. The dragon lives nearby in Cheyenne Mountain where very few know of its existence or the six other dragons stashed away across the globe.
In the real world Cheyenne Mountain is a great place to take out of town guests. The world famous Broadmoor Resort is there and a also a great zoo. More intriguing is what is inside Cheyenne Mountain – NORAD – the military center watching the skies over North America. You can’t get in there anymore but I did back in the late 90’s on an educator tour.
I’m looking forward to another visit to Cheyenne Mountain after reading THE DRAGON WHISTLER. It’s an exciting adventure wrought with mystery and fun moments. Readers will also enjoy the other setting as 12-year-old Willow and Cousins Ben and Marcus take a dragon flight to England in an attempt to basically save the world.
Smart and believable characters make this tale a winning title for any young reader looking for a magical ride. The final pages also set up a much anticipated sequel with Texas as the new location.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2015 PAGE COUNT: 216
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Willow McLain thinks dragons exist only in fairy tales…until she accidentally wakes one from a thousand-year hibernation. Who knew sneaking away from summer camp with her cousin Ben to explore an old abandoned hotel could land them, and their entire town, in danger of becoming dragon flambé? Who could have guessed that the slender whistle carved from bone Willow found in the hotel attic was stolen from a secret order of Dragon Guardians who’d spent the last thousand years watching over seven hibernating dragons? Now, as one of the dragon’s “Whistlers,” Willow is the only one who can play the magical tunes that control her. Too bad things don’t return to normal once Willow lures the dragon back into her den. And when one of the Guardians turns evil, planning to use all seven dragons to control the legendary Dragon Treasure, Willow must wake her dragon again to help protect mankind’s only source of hope.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE DRAGON WHISTLER (Secrets of the Soul Treasure) by Kimberly J. Smith
- There is a strong sense of family. Willow’s parents are divorced and her cousins’ mother tragically passed away. Little do they know at the start how close they will become by the end.
- Music is the key for the entire story. Violinist Willow learns to play the whistle she and Ben found in an abandoned hotel and that is what initially wakens the nearby dragon. Ben is a drummer and his skills also come into play. Two very different kids who connect via music.
- With a touch of international intrigue, the plot is imaginative and balances the fantasy and real life elements nicely.
- The book begins with the unexpected when a dragon blasts through the mountain. The next chapters delve into what happened in the week before to cause this event to happen. It’s a great way to bring the story to life.
- Dragons. That pretty much says it all. Fantasy loving kids can’t get enough of dragons in their choice of books and they can’t go wrong with this one.
FAVORITE LINES: Drynfyre didn’t respond, swinging her head toward the back of the cave. She snorted a ball of flame. Willow shrieked. The work crew scattered as the fireball exploded against the back wall, high over their heads. Drynfyre shook her head like a horse. Sorry. I had a tickle in my nose.
The Dragon Whistler is an entertaining story full of adventure, interpersonal relationships, musical elements, magic and, of course, dragons! The main character is Willow, a girl almost thirteen years old and her cousin, Ben, who is already thirteen. At first, they have to learn how to get along. They each have had difficult family experiences and they don't see eye-to-eye, but their adventure in exploring an old abandoned hotel changes all of that.
I loved how the book grabs your attention and sucks you into the adventure from the very beginning. The build up is also exciting. There is a huge battle scene that gets a bit fantastical, however, this could make for good animation or cinematography.
I would highly recommend this book for kids ages 11 - 15.
A very enjoyable read. It starts off strong with some immediate action but then the author does a good job of developing the characters while the story line is building. The characters feel real with imperfections and anxieties. The action is well paced and realistic enough for a fantasy. I like that there wasn't a lot of time spent on the backstory - dragon lore, etc. That can come over time at the series progresses. I'm pretty sure that this in the first book in a series. I strongly recommend the Dragon Whistler to any YA reader interested in fantasy.
Love the mythical mixed with the historical in this captivating fantasy about a teenage girl navigating the typical world of coming-of-age with a twist and a secret destiny involving...what else? Dragons! This is a must-read for any YA fantasy lover. Can't wait for more from this author!
Reading this was like being invited on a great adventure! I felt like I was traveling with a few good friends and re-discovering strong friendships and family. Cheering for the good guys, can't WAIT until the next one!
Imaginative plot, creative characters, and overall a great book! Every page kept me wanting more. Would highly recommend!
I loved the plot of the book, but one thing really threw me off at the beginning – Willow, the main character, was a really big brat – so much so it made it hard to keep reading. I found myself with an utter disdain for the main character. Granted, that changed slowly over the course of the story, so much that if you read the first and last chapter, you wouldn’t believe that they are the same person. Looking back at it, it now seems like a great way to flesh out Willow as a character but it just originally made it a harder book to pick up. Other than that, it was a great story, with a believable adventure. There was an excellent amount of foreshadowing – so much that I knew that there was something off with one of the characters, but I had no idea what they would do! It is a nice story, and a fun read. The book is a quick read, but a good one – makes me think what great things Smith would come up with if she expanded the story.
I give this book four out of five bookworms.