Another dragon book. That was my rather reluctant thought when I picked this one up. There are a lot of dragon books out there, more than I realized when I wrote my own. But I’d been told this one was good…
I liked it more than Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, the dragonesque Newbery honor book I reviewed a few weeks ago.
Okay, I have to admit Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is arguably better literature, in that it makes better use of literary devices—word pictures, sensory details, a circular package where the story’s head comes around to bite its tail, if you know what I mean. But if I compare that gut feeling of contentment that settles over me after I close the back cover, Trusted wins, hands down. I just liked the plot and characters better.
It did take a little while for this one to grow on me. Fourteen-year-old Renick finds himself stranded in a huge, unfriendly wilderness with two other passengers who survived the flyer wreck—twelve-year-old Lainey, who aside from some chatterbox moments that don’t really remain consistent, usually seems older, and Thane, the sometimes stand-offish son of a nobleman. Together the three children discover a baby dragon and must avoid the dragon hunters, who come off quite stereotypically. (Think Disney’s evil dogcatcher type.) Also, I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish which of the three kids was talking when they were in a group. However, once the kids make it to the dragon city high in the mountains, I was completely hooked. The action and characterization just kept getting better and better. I came away really liking Renick, in particular.
This is a story of nobility, honor, trust (which you can probably discern from the title), and attempts at reconciliation between two ancient enemy races—dragons and humans. It’s one of those hopeful, feel good tales that leave you smiling at the end. But it’s also a survival story that will fill that craving for adventure. Two thumbs up! Appropriate for listeners as young as 7 or 8, but recommended for readers at a fourth or fifth grade level.