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“Stories are powerful. They can teach people, change their minds, make them laugh, or cry, or remember, or forget,” Ellukka. – Scorch Dragons
by Amie Kaufman
AR Test, Diverse Characters
After a battle between Ice Wolves and Scorch Dragons, Anders and his twin sister have finally been reunited. But some still doubt that the twins are truly siblings. While the dragons have embraced Rayna, many want the wolves Anders and Lisabeth to leave the mountain stronghold of Drekhelm, because dragons think all wolves are a threat.
For now, Lief, the leader of the dragons, has promised to keep the two wolves safe. But when the wolf pack begins to use the Snowstone, the temperature starts to drop all over Vallen. With the use of the Snowstone, the wolves can weaken the dragons before they attack. Every dragon is in danger. As the dragons debate on the best course of action, Anders and his friends decide they must act in the hopes of bringing peace.
Anders enlists the help of a few new flame-breathing friends to stop the wolves’ plan of attack. Together the group must go on a quest to find the pieces of the Sun Scepter, the only artifact that can counteract the Snowstone. In the search for the Sun Scepter, Anders and his friends will not only have to hunt for clues, but they must also keep the dragons in the dark. The only way to bring peace is to find the Sun Scepter, but keep it out of the dragons’ hands. Can Anders and his friends find the Sun Scepter and use it to stop the wolves? Or will they cause the next great battle?
The second book in the Elemental series still focuses on Anders but adds new, interesting characters. As Anders learns about the dragons’ world, he discovers that the stories of the dragons were not completely true. Instead, the wolves’ stories only focused on facts that portrayed the Ice Wolves in a positive light, and they left out important information that would have helped people understand why the dragons “attacked.” Throughout the story, Anders and his friends learn to put away past misconceptions and work together for the good of all—dragons and wolves.
Scorch Dragons introduces the dragon’s world and gives Anders a new perspective. However, much of the story focuses on Anders and Rayna proving that they are truly siblings and using this knowledge to find the pieces of the Sun Scepter, which has been hidden in four different places. The search lacks suspense due to overly long descriptions of scenery as well as the easy manner in which the pieces are found.
Readers who enjoyed Ice Wolves will already have a connection with the characters and will want to know the outcome. Because of the advanced vocabulary, long descriptions, and a large cast of characters, Scorch Dragons is best suited for strong readers. This character-driven story shows how unlikely friends can work together for the good of all. Although the story ends with an epic battle between the Ice Wolves and the Scorch Dragons, readers will have to work to make it through the slower middle part of the story. Still, fantasy fans will love flying into a book where dragons, wolves, and magic meld in a world of constant danger.
- Anders, Rayna, and their friends take the Sun Scepter to Holbard. The dragons try to stop them and throw “pure white dragonfire” at the group. Ander uses the Sun Septer and “a wave of warmth washed over him like a real wave of water, sending all the dragons scrambling to stay steady.” The dragons follow the group into town when suddenly “ice spears were flying up from the walls, along with huge clouds of cold cast by the most powerful of the wolves, and the dragons were staggering, tossed about by the cold wind.”
- When the wolves use the Snowstone, everything freezes. The cold “reached the harbor, and icy fingers snaked out into the water, freezing the surface solid and squeezing the hulls of the ships until they began to crack with bang Anders could hear even above the city.”
- During a battle, the Sun Scepter gives of a wave of heat. “A huge crack was opening up right through the middle of Holbart, running straight through the courtyard and outbuildings of Ulfar Academy itself! Stonework crumbled, walls collapsed, and a jagged trench cut the ground in two.”
- During the battle, Leif tried to protect the students but “a sudden volley of ice spears soared toward Ellukka and Rayna, it was Valerius who threw himself into their path to protect his daughter, roaring his defiance. Ellukka shrieked as a wave of gray cold started at her father’s foreleg, racing along his side. One wing paralyzed, he began to fall, fall, fall toward the ground.” Other dragons come to help Valerius.
- During the final battle, both Anders and Rayna use icefire. “Flames billowed out, consuming the dragons’ fire and the wolves’ ice, swallowing them whole before they could touch the twins.” The epic battle is described over 20 pages. Most of the destruction happens to buildings, and injuries are not described.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Leif wants to see if Rayne and Anders are truly siblings. He brings a purse to Anders and tells him the purse “will bond to the next person who touches it. . . It will require just the smallest drop of blood. Artifacts linked to family often do, among others. The blood of the most powerful wolves and dragon can achieve a great deal.” After Anders puts blood on the clasp, the purse will only open to those who are related to him. As Rayna takes the purse, Leif tells her, “If it doesn’t recognize you, it will scream an alarm. If it opens, that’s all we need to know.”
- One of the characters in Ice Wolves explains how Elementals change. “Essence is the magic that’s found all around us. In nature, in the earth itself. When we transform from human to wolf, we channel it instinctively so we can make the change…Elementals always have gifts linked to nature, because nature is where we find the essence that gives us our power.”
- In the past, dragons and wolves crafted magical objects with runes. Many of the objects are magical and the “runes are what channeled the essence—the power that came from nature, from the earth itself—into artifacts.”
- Anders discovers that he can create icefire—blue-and-silver fire. When he uses the fire, “the white fire and the ice spear both vanished into nothing as they connected with his blue-and-silver flames.”
- Anders and Rayna’s mother was rumored to have a thunder lion as a father. Thunder lions “are elementals who control the wind and air.”
- One of the wolves has a mirror that “allows two-way communication.”
- Anders and Rayne are given a map that used to be their mother’s. When Rayna puts blood on the compass of the map, “the beautifully drawn border was writing, changing, rearranging itself.” The map makes letters, which give them a clue to find the Sun Scepter, which can change the weather.
- The wolves use the Snowstone to make the weather colder, which weakens the dragons’ power.
- When Anders, Rayna, and their friends get to Cloudhaven, they are able to enter the building by using pins with runes on them. When they enter, Anders tells Cloudhaven what they are looking for “and then, just as it had before, the glow out in the hallway faded. When it returned a moment later, the path of runes led down the stairs again. . . the new glowing path led an entirely new direction.” Cloudhaven lights a path showing Anders and Rayna where they need to go.
- Anders and Rayna are given two pendants. When Anders placed a pendant onto Rayna’s dragon form, “the necklace simply melted into her skin, vanishing, perhaps to the same place her clothes and the contents of her pockets had gone when she transformed.”