Greetings, friends! Apologies for the delay in this week’s post; I’m experimenting to see which day of the week works best for my schedule. Today I am sharing another gem of a book with you: Flight of the Dragon Kyn by Susan Fletcher.
A long time ago, I read another of Fletcher’s books, Shadow Spinner. I recall enjoying it, so I checked out this book from the library. Apparently, it’s part of a series, but there are mixed reviews about the other books. I probably won’t read the rest since this book can stand very well on its own.
Before we jump in, take a look at this book’s beautiful covers:
My library has the third cover, which is admittedly the least vibrant of the three. I like the first two better. If I could own the book with either of those covers, I would be content. Which cover do you like best?
Where have they gone
the old night-flyers,
haunters of the heights?
Where have they gone
the ancient kyn of dragons?Flight of the Dragon Kyn, Susan Fletcher, pg. 193
This book has a lot of strong points, among them the prose, plot, and setting. The prose reminds me of Rosemary Sutcliff and the character voice is well-developed. Kara is a strong main character with a unique gift: she can call birds down from the sky. Everyone in her village gives her odd looks, but in her words, “Who would not call down birds, once they knew the joy of it? I see nothing strange in that” (pg 34).
Some suggest that she can summon not just birds, but also dragons. Ridding the world of the beasts is the king’s goal, and he believes Kara can help him accomplish it. This is the inciting incident that takes Kara away from her home and to the king’s steading, where she faces new challenges and finds allies and foes alike.
The setting of this book is incredible. It reminds me of Norse or Celtic cultures with hints of the Native Alaskan culture. The land’s climate is colder in the north, and much of the book takes place in a snowy environment. Boats sail the icy seas and dogs are used as pack animals to pull sleds of gear. The people also make use of birds of prey to hunt for game.
Falconry has always intrigued me, and the author did meticulous research on it for the book. She presented the concepts in a way that was engaging and easily understood. Kara’s relationship with birds of prey was especially well done. I’ve never seen medieval falconry presented so well in a book before. Even the fiction book that first introduced me to it didn’t go into great detail.
Last of all, the plot is extremely gripping. I was up until 2 a.m. reading the latter half of the book because I was so invested. The pacing is excellent; I didn’t notice anywhere that the narrative dragged. Throughout the book, the stakes of Kara’s journey keep the reader turning pages.
Even though it’s classified as a middle-grade fiction book (for ages 8-12), this book doesn’t hesitate to explore the darker elements of the narrative. There are depictions of blood and death, and evil characters threaten to kill innocents. The theme of the book seems to be “choices have consequences and refusing to take responsibility for them will not end well.”
The one critique I can give this book is in the area of foreshadowing. The finale was not strongly alluded to, so it came as more of a plot twist than a puzzle piece falling into place. Nonetheless, I give this book 5 stars and would recommend it to any lovers of fantasy, dragons, and falconry.
And there you have it! Go check out this book. Seriously.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!