This fantasy novel by Tui T. Sutherland is the first in the "Wings of Fire" series published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
The Dragonet Prophecy is written for kids ages 9 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
In this book, the characters are dragons, and a war rages between the dragon tribes in the land of Pyrrhia. According to prophecy, the bloodshed will only cease when five remarkable dragonets, young dragons, are born and trained to stop the fighting.
A group of dragons called the Talons of Peace seeks to fulfill the prophecy by collecting five special eggs, born on the brightest night. The dragonets must come from the tribes of the SeaWings, NightWings, SkyWings, MudWings and SandWings. But one of the warring queens purposely breaks the SkyWing egg, causing the dragonet caretakers to make a last minute change of plans. Though it is outside the prophecy, they quickly substitute a RainWing egg.
The story picks up six years later and is told through the eyes of a dragonet named Clay. He and his friends, Tsunami, Sunny, Starflight and Glory (the RainWing dragonet) live beneath a mountain. They are under the care and training of the Talons of Peace supporters, dragons named Kestrel, Dune and Webs. When the dragonets decide to escape from the cave where they live, they and their guardians are captured by Scarlet, the fierce SkyWing queen. Scarlet makes her prisoners battle in an arena. She pits them against her champion, a dragon named Peril, whose mere touch sets others ablaze. Despite their strained circumstances, Peril and Clay become friends.
The dragonets make several thwarted escape attempts. Scarlet puts Kestrel on trial, and Peril discovers Kestrel is her mother. Burn, one of the hopefuls to be queen of the SandWings, visits Scarlet. When they learn Scarlet plans to give Sunny to Burn as a gift, the dragonets are all the more anxious to escape. Queen Scarlet puts on an elaborate show for her guests by pitting some of the dragonets against one another in the arena. When the excitement doesn't satisfy her, she puts Clay and Peril together to fight. They battle, trying to figure out how not to kill each other. At a critical moment, Glory attacks Scarlet with her powerful poison. The dragonets, with Peril's help, make their escape. They invite Peril to join them, but she feels she has work to do on herself before she can be the dragon of her destiny.
Clay and Glory choose to search for Clay's parents. They find his mother, a disinterested dragon that had sold her egg because she didn't need it. Though Clay is disappointed that his mother doesn't care to know him, he is pleased to meet his siblings. Clay comes to realize that to fulfill his destiny, he must be himself, take care of his friends and find a way to fulfill the prophesy.
Queen Scarlet and Burn both demonstrate violence and cruelty toward their underlings, taking pleasure in observing bloody battles between their prisoners. Kestrel raises the dragonets without love or kindness. She behaves with ambivalence even when she learns Peril is her daughter. Clay's birth mother admits to having sold his egg and says she doesn't know who fathered him. She shows no love for or even interest in him when he appears at her door.
Other belief systems
Different types of dragons have special powers. NightWings, for example, can read minds, see the future and deliver prophesies. When the dragonets try to escape from Kestrel, they wonder if they need a magic word, talisman or the aid of an animus dragon. Animus dragons were supposed to have power over objects. Dragons in the stadium think the arrival of the dragonets is an omen. Everything the dragonets are taught about the outside world comes from Talons of Peace scrolls. Clay prays hard, meaning he's trying to communicate telepathically into the minds of other MudWings.
The word heck appears once.
Heads of prey bounce across the grass. Blood spurts and pours out of headless bodies. Dragons lash at each other with their claws, tearing and ripping into each others' flesh and wings and gouging into open scars. Chilling cracks are often heard as dragons break each others' necks or bones. Peril scorches, melts and scars others, leaving disfiguring burns. Glory's poison disintegrates other dragons; the poison eats into their open wounds. Bloody, rotting dragon corpses litter the ground after several battles. Dragons and dragon eggs are often pushed or dropped from high places to kill them.
Queen Scarlet punishes a SeaWing dragon that refuses to fight, making it go without water for months. The slow dehydration leaves the dragon desperate, mentally unstable and ready for battle.
Clay's mother tells him she doesn't know who fathered him. She says their tribe has a breeding night once a month. Then everyone returns to his or her own sleeping quarters.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- What was most disturbing to you about the battles between dragons in this book?
How did the author make the dragons seem human?
What could they do in battle that humans can't do?
How did Queen Scarlet treat her prisoners?
- What kind of dragon does Clay want to be?
How does his example make Peril want to behave differently?
Does Clay know he is setting a good example? Explain.
In what area of your life could you set a good example for others?
- What kind of a friend is Peril to Clay?
Why might she be jealous of Clay's other friends?
What kind of impact does jealously have on a friendship?
Have you ever felt jealous of a close friend's friend?
What can you do to help stop those jealous feelings?
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