Book Review: Ember and the Ice Dragons by Heather Fawcett (ARC)

Ember and the Ice Dragons

Author: Heather Fawcett

Publication Date: 01 October 2019

Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Pages: 368

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

The first middle grade novel from Even the Darkest Stars author Heather Fawcett—a fantasy about a girl who used to be a dragon, and her adventure to save her new home. Perfect for fans of Nevermoor.

Ember St. George is a dragon. At least she was, before her adoptive father—a powerful but accident-prone Magician—turned her into a human girl to save her life. Unfortunately, Ember’s growing tendency to burst into flames at certain temperatures—not to mention her invisible wings—is making it too dangerous for her to stay in London. The solution: ship Ember off to her aunt’s research station in frigid Antarctica.

Though eccentric Aunt Myra takes getting used to, Ember quickly feels at home in a land of ice storms, mischievous penguins, and twenty-four-hour nights. She even finds herself making friends—with a girl genius called Nisha and a mysterious orphan named Moss. Then she discovers that Antarctica is home to the Winterglass Hunt, a yearly tradition in which rare ice dragons are hunted for their jeweled scales. Furious, Ember decides to join the hunt to sabotage it from the inside.

But being an undercover dragon isn’t easy—especially among dragon hunters. Can a twelve-year-old fire dragon survive the many dangers that come her way in the Antarctic wilderness and protect the ice dragons from extinction?

One thing that always keeps me coming back to middle grade fantasy is the ability for authors to take stereotypical and cliche situations and really mold them into something imaginative and refreshing. Heather Fawcett executes this beautifully in Ember and the Ice Dragons.

The story of Ember St. George’s origins is unlike that of most twelve year olds her age. Im fact, Ember isn’t even human. Her adoptive father Lionel, the renounced Stormancer (a powerful wielder of magic), transformed Ember into a baby girl to save her life following the slaughter of her dragon parents. Problem is that the spell didn’t really go to plan, so now Ember spontaneously combusts when sunlight touches her and she tends to torch everything within range. In order to save her father’s career, she decides that she should go to Antartica to live with her Aunt Myra since they currently have 24 hour nights.

Once in Antartica, life for Ember is vastly different than her London life. She has to go to school for one thing…and of course there’s a set of catty bullies (twins at that). She tries to maintain her isolation, but Nisha and Moss are determined to be her friends. Ember learns that the royal family in Antartica hold an annual hunt called the Winterglass Hunt that is a sport of slaughtering the remaining ice dragons. When Ember learns of this horrific sport that is headed by the arrogant and obnoxious Prince Gideon (who is also her age), she decides that she’s going to enter to sabotage the entire thing. What she doesn’t expect is that Nisha and Moss refuse to allow Ember to do this alone. This newly formed group of friends must find a way to save the remaining dragons and prove that they are not the vicious creatures that humans believe them to be.

I loved Ember and her determination to protect her father, her dragon kin, as well as her new found friends. She’s fiercely loyal and refuses to back down regardless how dangerous situations that she is presented with are. Now let’s talk about Puff. Puff is Ember’s talking cat. Yes, he literally talks but not in full sentences. Instead, he yells one word demands over and over until he ultimately get what he wants. I swear I was dying of laughter in some scenes because if my cat could talk, she would do the exact same thing: Eat! Eat! Eat! Now! Now! Now!

I loved the adventure that the trio must embark on in order to not only save the dragons but also to save humanity from itself. One thing that I always admire about powerful middle grade reads is that it’s usually the children that have to remind the adults of what a compassionate human being looks like.

Overall, if you’re looking for a heartfelt story packed with adventure, magic, and friendship then you need to read this book. I can’t recommend this one enough!

Thank you to Heather Fawcett for providing an ARC through a giveaway win. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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