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Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family's mountain cave . . . if only they'd let her leave it. Her family thinks she's too young to fly on her own, but she's determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human.
But when that human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she's transformed into a puny human without any sharp teeth, fire breath, or claws. Still, she's the fiercest creature in these mountains—and now she's found her true passion: chocolate. All she has to do is get to the human city to find herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she'll be conquering new territory in no time . . . won't she?
A classic fantasy with terrific girl power, perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Jessica Day George.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Stephanie Burgis has done it again! The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is a magical, engaging, captivating fantasy for MG readers and dragon fans of all ages. Aventurine, the dragon-turned-girl, is a delight, and the descriptions of chocolate and chocolate-making awakened an almost draconic greed in this chocolate-lover’s heart. I’m adding this novel to my list of favorite dragon books. . . and I’m seriously trying chili powder in my next cup of hot chocolate.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot; you can get the gist of it from the blurb above. Experienced readers will be able to predict the ending and even some of the twists and obstacles, but that won’t keep them from eagerly turning the pages. Aventurine’s personality and voice mingle draconic difference with human emotions every reader can relate to, and the two most important secondary characters—Silke and Marina—provide additional interest as well as contrast. Burgis weaves in diverse characters without fanfare; her Drachenburg is not a lily-white Northern European analog but a thriving, cosmopolitan city—think 16th-century Prague in architecture and social structure, but with the cultural mix of modern-day New York.
Everything is experienced through Aventurine’s first-person narrative. I admit, I love books that contrast cultures, particularly from the point of view of someone outside a culture similar to mine; it give me (and the author) the opportunity to question my own assumptions. For this purpose, Aventurine is the ultimate outsider, since she’s not even human.
For YA and adult readers, Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina (another book with a dragon-human protagonist) is more complex, more detailed, and more subtle (it is, after all, YA.) But The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is the perfect gift for the middle-grade dragon-lover in your life, and a terrific book to read aloud for the whole family.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Clean Sweep ARC Challenge 2017