Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse – written by Jordan Quinn, illustrated by Ornella Greco at Glass House Graphics, Little Simon, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 9781534475014, 2021
Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly: Shadow Hills – written by Jordan Quinn, illustrated by Ornella Greco at Glass House Graphics, Little Simon, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 9781534475045, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Fantasy (Graphic Novel)
What did you like about the book? The Kingdom of Wrenly was first introduced to readers in a (still expanding) chapter book series in 2014; these spin-off titles follow Rushkin, a legendary scarlet dragon who hatched in book two of the original series. In book one, Rushkin leaps at the chance to go on an adventure, away from his quiet life at the palace as a princely pet. The dragons of Crestwood are infected with the Coldfire Curse, which will spread across the Kingdom if the cure isn’t found soon. Luckily, Rushkin and two other young dragons band together, traveling far and facing magical dangers, to save everyone. Book two delves more deeply into the lore of Wrenly as Rushkin is once again tasked with a quest along with his two new friends. But a villain lurks in the shadows even as the trio overcome obstacles and prevent a devastating fire storm and break a dreary enchantment. A preview at the end of each volume piques readers’ interest for the following installment.
These two titles are fast-paced with a quest-based storyline that is easy to follow and quick to be resolved. This formula is perfect for newly independent readers and will quickly hook its target audience, drawing them further in with some silly dialog and strong themes of friendship and self-confidence that caregivers will greatly appreciate. The three main characters of Rushkin, Groth, and Cinder are all loveable and easy to connect with; each has a unique personality, though it should be noted that Rushkin is the only one (so far) experiencing a character arc, making his character more malleable for future volumes. Quinn’s dialog and story are well-matched with Greco’s colorful art, adding to the action scenes in particular as dragons swoop through the air or magic rushes through a panel.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Some character and setting introductions feel rushed, placing a short page count over connection to the story. This may be due to the fact that some readers will be familiar with the lore of Wrenly from the original series, but overall does a disservice to the books.
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a great companion series for fans of Quinn’s original work. Readers at a grade 2-4 level who have enjoyed other adventure-based books such as Galaxy Zack, Dragon Masters, or Zoey and Sassafras will eagerly pick up these titles.
Who should buy this book? Libraries with fans of the original series or of the (unrelated) Dragon Masters series by Tracy West will want to stock this on their shelves as a first purchase.
Where would you shelve it ? J Graphic Novels
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: March 30, 2021