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The Dragon's Tooth by N. D. Wilson

The Dragon's Tooth

by N. D. Wilson

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Book 1 in the 'Ashtown Burial' series, and as such, took about half of the book to set down the back story. It picked up after that, and in part can be compared to 'The Goonies', 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' (though in less of a 'sweet' manner) and 'Ghostbusters'. Please note that this reader intends all these comparisons as compliments to the story. ( )
  MomsterBookworm | Jul 14, 2014 |
Rick Riordan fans will find a lot to enjoy in this first installment of the Ashtown Burials series. When Cyrus Smith is given several strange objects by an old man right before his death, Cyrus and his sister Antigone are quickly swept into danger and adventure. All of the objects have magical abilities, and some very bad men would like to get their hands on them, especially the Dragon's Tooth, which is said to have the ability to raise the dead. Strong characters, interesting plot twists, and plenty of action make this a standout in fantasy. It gets a little far-fetched toward the end, but hey, that's part of the fun. The epilogue hints that the second in the series will feature a comeback from their father, who died years ago at the hands of the arch-villain. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
Although the book seems like a Percy Jackson or a Harry Potter wanna-be, it was an entertaining read. I'm looking forward to book 2. ( )
  bookwoman137 | Aug 10, 2012 |
I don't read a lot of Juvenile Fiction. This was a well written book. The descriptions were well done. The story was well constructed as well but dark. That seems to be the trend. People die, adults are not kind to the young. The protagonist, Cyrus is in possession of the magical Dragon's Tooth that the evil figure Dr. Phoenix who is reminiscent of H.G Wells' Dr. Moreau, wreaks havoc to obtain. This novel is one of a series and ends with a cliffhanger to get the reader to come back for more. ( )
  mstruck | Feb 25, 2012 |
I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through Amazon Vine. The book starts out a bit slow but ends up being a solid and engaging middle grade adventure and fantasy read.

Cyrus, Antigone, and Dan Smith live in a rundown motel that they barely make a living running. When an old tattooed man shows up demanding to stay in a certain room things start changing fast. Within hours of the man's arrival the motel is burnt to the ground, Dan is missing, and Cyrus and Antigone are whisked away to the Order of Brendan.

I thought the book started a bit slow, but as it progressed it picked up pace quickly and introduced the reader to an adventurous and fantastical, if grungy, world. I liked that the book followed both Antigone and Cyrus; it made the book easy for both boys and girls to relate to and engage with.

The Order of Brendan is an order the kids' parents belonged to and an Order that doesn't like the Smith children much because of things that their past relations have done. Cyrus and Antigone are faced with with a lot of hatred from the moment they arrive at the Order of Brendan. They find help in unexpected places though and discover the secrets behind the keys and tooth that the old tattooed man left with Cyrus.

In their exploration of the halls and corridors of the Order of Brendan they find adventure and surprises at every turn. They also find some nifty magical items and meet some fascinating people. Soon though they are on a run for their lives as a very evil man seeks possession of the tooth that Cyrus was given.

Cyrus and Antigone were wonderful characters I enjoyed reading about them and enjoyed the stoicism with which they accepted all of the horrible situations they were put in. They always tried to make the best of things and persevere; they supported each other with bravery and determination.

I loved the Order of the Brenden and all of the secrets that were in its halls. There is a ton of adventure in this book. There are also traitors, spies, and some scary bits...so only for middle grade or older. I should mention the book takes place in a lot of creepy and gross settings. From the moldy and bug infested motel the characters start in, to the water-logged stone halls with scuttling Whip Spiders that they are forced to sleep in at the Order of Brendan; there is a lot of yucky in this book. I found myself wondering how they could ever sleep in those conditions and got a little itchy from time to time. Still, the descriptions were wonderful and really made the settings come alive.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was an excellent middle grade adventure fantasy and I enjoyed the world and the characters. You never knew what crazy character you would run into next or what fantastic magical thing you would find around the corner. I highly recommend this to fans of middle grade fantasy. If you enjoyed Fablehaven by Brandon Mull or The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens you should definitely give this book a try. ( )
  krau0098 | Jan 23, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375864393, Hardcover)

Guest Reviewer: James Dashner on The Dragon's Tooth by N.D. Wilson

James Dashner is the New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy and The 13th Reality series.

The Dragon’s Tooth by N. D. Wilson isn’t a run-of-the-mill fantasy book for kids. Original, captivating, funny, and suspenseful, it’s a book that will appeal to all ages. And it’s certainly not run-of-the-mill.

The Smith children (Dan, Antigone, and Cyrus) run the Archer Motel, living on waffles and periodically visiting their comatose mother in the hospital. With their father dead, they are pretty much on their own. Things quickly get exciting when a strange man with bones tattooed all over his body comes to the motel demanding to stay in room 111. He shows twelve-year-old Cyrus a lightning bug encased in glass that has dangerous capabilities. After much mayhem the motel is destroyed in a fire, and Cyrus’s older brother, Dan, goes missing. Cyrus is given some very powerful keys and a shard of a tooth. Antigone and Cyrus travel to Ashtown, where they learn about the Order of Brendan, which has existed for fifteen centuries, and that they’re considered Acolytes, with some learning to do before they advance. As you can see, there’s a lot going on to keep you reading!

One of the elements I really enjoyed about the book is all the cool imagery that Wilson introduces. Quick Water is a substance that, when shared between two people, allows them to see where the other is. It ends up being helpful to Antigone as she searches for her brother. There’s a room with planks hanging from the ceiling to walk on so as to avoid the Whip Spiders. And there’s Patricia, a serpent that turns invisible when she swallows her tail. She helps Cyrus to conceal the special keys he’s been given.

To say this book is action-packed would be an understatement. It starts quickly and keeps a steady pace right to the climax and ending. The story is well-crafted, with vibrant characters and interesting places. I especially appreciated the way Wilson develops the siblings. The brother/ sister relationship is very authentic, and the dialogue believable. I’m really looking forward to the second installment!

A Letter from Author N. D. Wilson

I love history--and not just the official in-every-textbook stuff (though I enjoy that too). I love the classics of adventure--especially classics magical or piratical or exploratory. I love Latin and maps and running till I’m exhausted and hot days and my grandfather’s old leather flight jacket (which he lost). I have explored tombs in Jerusalem and back alleys in London. I have been lost in the tunnels of Brussels (with a van full of children), and I have been robbed in Rome (it was easy, anyone can do it). But my adventures are nothing compared to the adventures of men like Lewis and Clark and Magellan and Brendan the Navigator, and I can’t help but be stunned by what they were able to accomplish without our technological crutches and gifts (and internal combustion engines).

I love books that give me a thirst to step outside and blink in the sun (or blink in the rain), books that make me put on my boots or my shoes or my sandals, that make me want to climb, to dive, to dig, to have staring contests with anthills, to hold crabs or touch sharks or search out even fatter books.

Escapism in fiction can be a beautiful thing. But that’s not the only thing I hope to create. If kids around the world pass through The Dragon’s Tooth and become friends with Cyrus and Antigone Smith and form clubs and sit in circles to role-play with dice and wish they had more interesting lives, then I will have failed. But if they dream of learning to sail, to swim, to fly, if they dream of running faster than they’ve ever run and studying Latin (or Greek or Persian or Creole), if they walk outside and realize that their world is more wonderful, more surprising, more dangerous, and more exciting than anything I could ever create, if they discover that they themselves could become more interesting than any character I could ever shape, then I will have succeeded.

In The Dragon’s Tooth, I season my story with a pirate cook and flight lessons and truly electric lightning bugs and an old motel beside a quiet road in Wisconsin. I add one or two of history’s rogues (and whip spiders and a bull shark named Lilly and a giant snapping turtle named Leon), and then I put it all on a sizzling end-of-summer barbecue and serve it with lemonade.

Taste. Eat. I hope you like. But if you don’t, step outside and look at the sky. Right now, you’re standing on a ball that is hurtling through space at Mach 86. And that ball of fire up there in the blue is slinging us around like we’re on a string. Birds really can fly. And sing. The ocean is real. The platypus is no myth. Caterpillars turn into soup (and yes, that soup turns into butterflies). This is our fantasy world, and it is the world into which I hope my readers escape.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:34 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When their parents' seedy old motel burns down on the same night they are visited by a strange man covered in skeleton tattoos, Cyrus, Antigone, and their brother Daniel are introduced to an ancient secret society, and discover that they have an important role in keeping it alive.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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