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“Even terrible mistakes have roots and reasons. Making them doesn’t mean we get to give up,” Spar. –Rise of the Dragon Moon  

Rise of the Dragon Moon

by Gabrille K. Byrne 
AR Test, Strong Female

At A Glance
Interest Level

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Alone in a frozen world, Toli’s Queendom is at the mercy of the dragons who killed her father. She is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family. When the dragons rise and seize Toli’s mother, she will do anything to save her—even trust a young dragon who may be the key to the queen’s release.

With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes a treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger may prove to be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.

Readers will not want to start Rise of the Dragon Moon unless they have time to read the book in one sitting, because they will not be able to put the book down! Byrne builds a harsh, ice-covered world where dragons and humans are at odds. Right from the start, Toli’s conflict draws the reader into the story.

The story focuses on Toli, who is consumed with guilt about a secret she is keeping. Toli is a strong, determined character who doesn’t want to rely on others. While Toli is far from perfect, readers will admire her for her strength and willingness to put herself in danger to protect the people she loves. The story reinforces the idea that everyone makes mistakes, but “making them doesn’t mean we get to give up.”

Rise of the Dragon Moon is full of action and adventure and ends with an epic dragon battle. The well-developed characters are another positive aspect of the story. Readers will wish they had a friend like Wix, who was willing to fight bear-cats and dragons in order to help Toli. Although the dragons are not as well developed as the human characters, the main dragons all have unique personalities and ambitions which give the story added depth.

Throughout the story, one refrain is repeated several times—“The past was like the ice—it would never bend, but it would also never forget.” This phrase helps reinforce the idea that even though the past cannot be changed, the past does not need to define one’s future.

Besides being an incredible story, Rise of the Dragon Moon also shows the importance of trying to understand others—in this case, the dragons and humans must learn to communicate and work together to fight an unseen enemy. Even though the conclusion wraps up most of the story’s threads, Bryne leaves enough room for a possible sequel. Rise of the Dragon Moon will captivate readers with courageous characters who brave the danger of an icy wilderness in order to bring Toli’s mother home. Readers who love action, adventure, and dragons should also read Legends of the Sky by Liz Flanagan and Spark by Sarah Beth Durst.

 Sexual Content

  • None


  • The dragons attack a group of hunters. One dragon attacks Toli. “A single talon was half as tall as her . . . she saw the dragon’s tail coming, too fast, too huge. She took the impact in her gut and ribs, flying backward to smash into the cold, hard wall.” Only one hunter survives, but the deaths are not described.
  • A swarm of beetles attacks Toli, Petal, and Wix. When they attack, Toli “swing[s] her beater to knock a beetle out of the air. She swung again. Her arm gave a painful throb as the beater connected with another giant insect. Two down. . . From the corner of her eye, she could see Wix swinging his beater, knocking one after another to the ice.” Wix is injured.
  • A dragon named Krala gets angry at Toli. “Krala lashed the ice with her tail and lurched forward, snapping at Toli. . . Krala rattled and lunged, forcing them farther back.” Wix and Toli grab their bows and shoot. “Both arrows soared, straight and true, piercing Krala’s shoulder and chest, one behind the other. . . The dragon roared in pain, shaking ice under their feet.” Krala flies off.
  • Bear-cats attack Toli and her friends. “Wix fired. His arrow struck the new attacker’s shoulder. It let out a roar and put on a burst of speed. . . Petal cried out as Wix fired again, this time hitting the third one in the chest. It slowed, but the first one let out a roar and surged forward.
  • One of the bear-cats goes after Ruby. “Ruby veered away at the last moment, slashing with her talons as she passed. The bear-cat’s jaws snapped shut and came away with feathers. Its shoulder was bleeding. . .” The fight is described over three pages.
  • The dragons battle to see who will be their leader. Toli is in the middle of the battle. “The air was rife with growls and the sound of tearing flesh. . . Scorched feathers drifted down like ash, bringing with them the scent of burning.” Toli tries to find safety. “Toli rose from the ground and stumbled sideways. She caught herself on the charred ground, crying out as a long slice opened across her palm.”
  • Toli runs from the battle. “Blood stained the ground. The yellow dragon lurched forward, snapping its jaws as Toli switched directions. . .”
  • Spar, a human, tries to stab the Mother dragon. “The Mother took two running steps to meet her attacker. Barbed quills flew like arrows. One caught Spar in the shoulder and she fell to the ground, sending up a plume of fine gray dust.” Spar holds a blade against Toli’s neck. “The blade of her knife pressed tightly against Toli’s skin.” Toli is uninjured. The battle takes place over nine pages.

 Drugs and Alcohol

  • In Toli’s world, the adults drink honeywine.


  • The dragons call a human “bone bag” and “puny bite.”
  • “Thank the stars” is used as an exclamation once.
  • “Nya’s bless, child” and “Nya’s light” are both used as an exclamation once.
  • Hailfire is used as an exclamation several times.
  • Toli calls a dragon a coward.


  • Toli looks into a “silver liquid” and sees into the future.

Spiritual Content

  • When the dragons were awake, “everyone in Gall would take cover and pray to the Daughter Moon to keep them safe.”
  • Toli’s people tell a creation story, where Nya was lonely so she decided to make “the creatures of her dreams. . . with each passing cycle of Father Moon, Nya made new souls to join the people, hiding them from her father on an island of sand and stone under the black rock ledge.” Nya created people from “basalt, and sand, and shell” and made everyone look different.
  • When Toli’s mother is taken, Toli “prayed for Nya to show her where the dragon had taken her mother.”
  • When the dragon Ruby becomes ill, Toli “closed her eyes and sent a fervent prayer soaring out to the Daughter Moon to keep Ruby alive.”
  • When a dragon wants Toli to give her Ruby, Toli “prayed the folds of her cape would hide the dragon’s lithe form.”
  • When Toli is reunited with her mother, her mother says, “Thank Nya’s light, you’re all right!”


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“Even terrible mistakes have roots and reasons. Making them doesn’t mean we get to give up,” Spar. –Rise of the Dragon Moon  

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