Disney-Hyperion. (Storm Dragons: Bk. 1). Apr. 2024. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368090308.
Gr 3-6–In a land made of floating islands, there is a 12-year-old princess, Gem, who flies on a beautiful white dragon and whose silver streak in her black hair marks her as a storm mage. In this same system of islands, floating over the dangerous, scary, unending Maelstrom, lives Remy, a “mud rat” with “mud-colored hair, mud-colored eyes” who has nothing in the world, not even parents, and who dreams of dragons. In alternating chapters, Gem and Remy’s stories inch closer together as Remy discovers a baby dragon and Gem realizes that the only way to save her father’s kingdom is to embark on a solo quest to find the Ancients. They both need the help of Crusty Bart, former sky knight and the only human alive to have interacted with the True Dragons—sentient dragons who possess infinite magic. Falling in with sky pirates might be a bad move, but Remy must save his dragon and Gem must save the sky knight so they have no choice but to trust Captain Cutlass and her crew as they go after the most dangerous captain and mage in the most dangerous part of their world: the Vortex. This fantasy series debut has everything that readers could want: magic, used for both good and ill; dragons; a quest; a rebellious and brave princess; life-and-death adventure; and a cliffhanger ending. The writing occasionally feels stilted, but is written at an age-appropriate level, and the worldbuilding creates a very clear picture of this land. The plot moves along at an exciting clip and will keep readers turning pages.
VERDICT This is a sure hit for fantasy fans, specifically those who love dragons and rollicking adventure. Highly recommended.

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