Saturday, March 17, 2012

Born to Be a Dragon and Blink of a Dragon

Thank you so much to the CCBR reader who suggested we review the beginning of Eisley Jacobs' new Dragons Forever series! Born to be a Dragon and Blink of a Dragon are unique and engaging reads for upper elementary readers (although I couldn't put them down, either).

Fourth-grader Meia has been shuffled from foster family to foster family her whole life. It doesn't take long for her eccentric obsession with dragons to become obvious, but when other children start having nightmares about dragons, she is always asked to leave. Her newest family, Mr. and Mrs. Bensen, seem different. When Meia tells them about her unusual dreams, Mr. Bensen listens and Mrs. Bensen passes the chocolate chip cookies.

When the Bensens get special permission to take Meia to the Cook Islands for summer vacation, Meia realizes what the Bensens only suspect. . . her dreams are based in reality!

Meia's story is intertwined with the story of Deglan, an enormous blue dragon, whose unusual birthmark makes him an outcast from his clan. Meia is thrilled to learn Deglan is real and wants to communicate with her. More importantly, Meia holds the link to uniting the three clans and restoring Deglan to his clan and harmony to all civilizations.

Plot Spoiler Ahead: Book Two, Blink of a Dragon, continues the story of Meia and Deglan. Now that Meia knows the Bensens are shape-shifting dragons who want to adopt her, she is free to be herself more often. However, fifth grade holds unexpected challenges when Deglan shows up as a boy in her class, and Patricia, her long-standing rival, turns out to be a dragon as well!

Soon, the three mismatched fifth-graders find themselves traveling to Black Hills National Forest, in an attempt to unite with another dragon clan. Unfortunately, they are betrayed and attacked by "Dark Dragons." The lives of the dragon children and those who love them depends on a daring rescue attempt by Meia and Deglan.

As Meia and Deglan search for a legendary phoenix who holds the firestone of life, they meet an unexpected foe. In the uplifting ending, Deglan and Meia learn the power of forgiveness to redeem and restore relationships and the land.

What I Like: Meia and Deglan are both endearing characters, and I like reading alternating chapters told from each of their point of view. Jacobs genuinely captures the dilemmas of not fitting in with your peers, whether in grade-school or dragon society. I also like having a male and female protagonist. Readers will relate to both Meia and Deglan, and the books would be perfect for grade school read-alouds.

I especially like the themes of forgiveness and redemption. The first book is more subtle than the second, but a Christian perspective on forgiveness and new life is evident without being heavy-handed. Plot Spoiler: Meia learns her rival is really just like her--an insecure girl with a sad past. Deglan learns he can forgive even the worst enemy.

I also liked reading about the Cook Islands and the Black Hills. Jacobs uses lots of detail, and the books would link well to social studies or geography lessons.

What I Dislike: Nothing major. There are a couple of phrases which sound specifically Christian. Jacobs mentions a "conversion experience" and being "redeemed," but readers have to figure out what this means from context clues. I realize many churchgoers will be familiar with this terminology, but it would be nice to have it explained more obviously for mainstream audiences.

Also, Jacobs switches between using italics or quotation marks for internal thoughts, which gets confusing.

Overall Rating: Excellent

Age Appeal: 8 and up

Publisher Info: CreateSpace, 2011; ISBN: 1456360965; Paperback, 140 pages, $6.99

Buy Born to be a Dragon at for $6.99.

Buy Blink of a Dragon at for $6.99.

Special Info: There is minimal use of mechanical magic, primarily in the form of firestones, which allow dragons to transfer locations in the blink of an eye, and some dragons can shift between human form and dragon form.

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Eisley Jacobs said...

Thank you so much for reviewing Born to be a Dragon and Blink of a Dragon! It was such a lovely surprise to find in my email! (I use Google Alerts so it emails me when folks use the names). Thanks much!

Denise Grover Swank said...

I have read both books and wholeheartedly agree that they are awesome! My children love them. :)

Erin said...


I am so glad you found our review! I'm sure I speak for Denise, as well, in expressing the hope you will continue adding to the series! I will be giving these books as gifts to several readers on my list, and they are next in line as our family's read-aloud selection. Thanks for a lovely week of reading! Erin