The Last Dragon Rider: An Adventure in Presadia, by Luke Aylen

Seven stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Luke Aylen, and Lion Hudson Ltd. for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Looking for something my son might enjoy when he finishes his current book series, I took a chance with this YA fantasy novel by Luke Aylen. With a story full of excitement and action, I hoped to find something intriguing, though perhaps my reader’s lens made for a difficulty in properly capturing the tale’s greatness. Anavah finds herself living in the cruel world of Presadia. There is little flexibility and she is forced to steal to survive. After receiving crystal goggles from a mysterious entity, Anavah uncovers a life-altering discovery veiled in magic. In a tale that takes Anavah through time and space, she becomes an active student in the history of dragon riders of all shapes and sizes, which will surely transform Presadia forever. Anavah has a decision to make as she accepts her new life, though no one said it would be easy! Delving into the world of elves, dwarves, and even a few dragons, Anavah leads the reader into the fantastical and proves that adventures need not have a clear path, while still being highly entertaining. An interesting piece that many middle-school children will enjoy. Luke Aylen is an author to watch, with a series that is sure to spark the interest of many. Recommended for that dragon-obsessed young reader who loves the challenge of a good chapter book.

I always feel that I do a disservice when I pick up a young adult book, particularly when I am not as enthralled as the author might like. However, such is the plight when I am trying to find some new things for Neo to read before he jumps in. I enjoyed the book for the most part, but my lack of a connection with fantasy writing may have jaded me a little. I enjoy dragons and beings of various forms as much as the next person, but the writing was likely geared for a group with whom I cannot properly connect as a reader. Luke Aylen does a great job at hashing out his characters and adds just enough detail to keep them from disappearing into the page, while spicing things up with just enough drama. The younger reader will surely lose themselves in the adventure and the layers of plot and character development. There is much left open to interpretation and intrigue, which allows the reader to wonder and seek more of this series to fill in some of the gaps. Short chapters encourage the reader to keep pushing through, which is important when there are so many other distractions taking place outside of a good book. I’ll have to hand this over to Neo to see if he likes it, though there’s nothing to make me think that he would not.

Kudos, Mr. Aylen, for a great piece of work. Just because it was not top of my list does not mean you won’t dazzle your intended audience.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: