by Silvana de Mari
A lot of things in this book turn out not to be what others expected, and that's part of the fun of it. It's got one of the most original concepts of dragons that I've ever read. When the elf first meets the dragon I was dismayed at what an inane, whiny cowering beast it was, but turns out there's a good reason for that and soon you find in the story that dragons can be insufferably proud, sarcastic and full of wisdom as well. So- I don't want to tell too much about the story but it has a lot going on, much of it subtle. There are adventures and narrow escapes. A little bit of a love story. An isolated library stuffed with all the knowledge of the world, that might just get burnt up by an infant dragon that can't control its fire. There's a cruel ruler who enforces lots of suffering, children who rise up against their oppressors, people who don't realize their strengths until the need arises in front of them. Lots of prejudice and misconceptions on all sides- it's refreshing to see the various perspectives as parts of the story are told from different characters' viewpoints. I liked how all the little threads connected at the end, characters that didn't realize why they crossed paths but it turns out all to a purpose. It kept me intent because quite a few things happened that I didn't see coming at all. And it made me laugh any number of times.
It's translated from the Italian. The original title was The Last Elf.
Rating: 3/5 361 pages, 2004
Becky's Book Reviews