Sunday, February 3, 2013

Guest Review: Jesse James and the Dragon's Egg

I am currently reading a book and will post the review shortly. In the meantime, enjoy a guest review of Jesse James and the Dragon's Egg by W. Edward Woodward III!

Jesse James and the Dragon's Egg is the first novel in a new series about a young boy and his adventures. In this first book, Jesse and his friends find an unusual egg while trespassing on his neighbor's property. A fascinating magical creature hatches from the egg and forms an instant bond with the boy. Unfortunately for Jesse, there is someone who wishes to take his new friend away from him, even if they have to kill him and his friends to do so.

Although I am older than author's target audience, I still enjoyed this book. Sometimes I feel as if books aimed at preteens and young adults are written too simply, but this is not the case here. The author trusts that his audience is smart enough to understand the fast paced story with its detailed mythology. As a result, the book appealed to me as well, and kept me interested until the very last page.

The main character, Jesse, has been developed very well. Early on in the book, he experiences some tragic events, and I was able to relate to him easily. These scenes were very well written, and I definitely felt poor Jesse's pain. Many of the supporting characters were realistically portrayed as well. I especially liked Brad, and empathized with his frustrations regarding his family obligations and his arguments with Jesse. I also liked Kate, and seeing her hold her own in the group of boys brought a smile to my face. On the other hand, it seemed to me that Lamar and John didn't have much to do in the story, and I hope that they play a bigger role in the next story. I also hope that Jesse's relationships with his mother and Jake are explored in more detail in book 2, as I forgot about them on occasion while reading book 1. I did not feel any sense of urgency as Jesse was trying to help his family.

As for the older characters, I definitely loved Jag and his family. I do feel that secrets he revealed later in the book about Jesse and his own background could have been explained a little earlier. I think that everything was explained a little suddenly towards the end, which disrupted the pacing a little bit. Also, I wished more could be explained about Jag and the other adult characters, but I understand that as this is the first book in the series, something must be left for book 2. Lastly, I very much loved the character of Al, the dragon, and his relationship with Jesse. I thought that the concept of the Siriti was very interesting. I felt Jesse's love and concern for his pet, and his unwillingness to give him up, despite the trials and tribulations the duo faced.

In technical terms, I thought the book was well-written, but does need some minor editing for a few typos. I also thought some scenes in the book were very funny, such as when Jesse and his friends attempt to hide the egg from his mother. Additionally, the interactions between the children were well done and showed the strong friendships they had with each other. The dialogue was realistic as well, as the young protagonists in the book spoke in a manner similar to most children in that age range.

In sum, this is a fun read, even for those who are no longer in the preteen to young adult age range. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to see what happens next to Jesse and his friends!

My Rating: 5 stars

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