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When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:
Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword
by Gabriel F.W. Koch
Thirteen-year-old Emma Walker has a plan. She must find a buried antique sword she learned about from an old map she found tucked in the back of an ancient book, sell the sword, and use the money to get herself and her mother out of poverty. The sword, crafted from a dragon’s tooth and a scale from the center of the beast’s breast, controlled the pirate Dragon Sanglant, living hundreds of years in the past, has a different plan for her. It draws Emma back in time where she learns that on the night of her father’s fatal accident her fate became tangled with the sword, elves, a dragon and other creatures associated with the enchanted blade. On the reverse side of the map, Emma reads a notation about the sword’s location, that it lay buried between yesterday and tomorrow. The obverse side shows a diagram of an ornamental sculpture garden, but not its name or location. However, Emma is not the only person interested in the sword.
* courtesy of Amazon.com
In Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword, a fantasy geared toward readers aged 10 to 12, author Gabriel F.W. Koch dives right into the action and keeps the rapid narrative pace running throughout.
Koch begins with a description of a grisly car accident. Ten-year-old Emma mysteriously survives the brutal wreck that claims her father’s life. She is inexplicably extricated from the car before it explodes, and has visions of a “huge, indescribable creature” who speaks to her in comforting tones before she passes out.
Four years later, the weight of that vision returns when Emma finds a weathered book from the 16th century in her local library detailing the exploits of Dragon Sanglant, a pirate who ruled the seas for a dozen years and wielded a magical sword made from a dragon’s tooth. Emma becomes obsessed with finding the sword to help extricate her family from poverty.
Following the clues from a map found in the book, she eventually locates the sword and discovers that it’s a gateway to a “New World” that hosts elves, marauding pirates and the dragon who saved her from death. There, Emma must make a stand against the pirate Dragon Sanglant to restore balance to the New World and find a route home.
Koch’s straightforward adventure relies on fast-paced action and dynamic descriptions. For example, Emma’s trial as the new Swordbearer after she arrives in the New World features vivid monsters and moving tests of her strength and will. Koch’s direct, engaging writing style makes up for the occasional sense that the characters are underdeveloped (the adults, for example, seem mere one-dimensional background figures, and Dragon Sanglant is a broad villain, rather than multi-dimensional), and the background and context are somewhat vague.
Such shortcomings aren’t likely to deter the book’s target audience, however. Overall, Emma and the Dragon Tooth Sword is a fun and breezy outing for young readers just starting their journey into the genre.
– reviewed by on Blue Ink Review