Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Theo is an ordinary twelve-year-old boy, teasing his twin sister, Nia, and fooling with his best friend, a nerd who makes Theo wings, unsuccessfully. The only oddity in his past is that his father drowned on the day he was born, and there are strange stories about why. Tales of witches and Dragon Village are only myths, aren’t they? Perhaps. The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa Aveela mirrors much of Slavic mythology. But when Nia is kidnapped by the wicked Lamia, and a witch and a magpie guide Theo through the portal to Dragon Village, he realizes the truth. He, his father’s son, is the unborn hero tasked with defeating Lamia and returning happiness to the land she holds in thrall. Does he have the skill to shoot her three souls with a silver arrow?
The striking thing about The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village is Ronesa Aveela’s talent for character description – the good, the bad, and the ugly when beauty rarely equals good or ugly necessarily bad – and her incredible settings. "‘Tree’ didn't do justice to what stood before them. Silver heart-shaped leaves clustered on the branches. In their midst sat a bird with wings like flames, gold burnishing the edges.” And, “Kosara's last words were nothing more than a whisper, a gentle touch tickling his ears. They faded with the setting of the sun.” Reading The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village is like watching a movie running in your head – drama and movement in every tiny, carefully and cleverly integrated detail. Utterly brilliant and highly recommended.