Monday, October 5, 2020

The Lost Heir

The Lost Heir
by Tui T. Sutherland
Recommended Ages: 11+

The five Dragonets of Destiny, prophesied to end the three-way war that has divided the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia, have escaped from the clutches of the SkyWing queen and made their way to the SeaWing kingdom, or rather queendom, where Tsunami (they have just learned) is the lost heir to the throne. Her reunion with her royal mother, Queen Coral, at first plays word-for-word like the scene in Tsunami's favorite bedtime story, but that's easily understood once she learns that Coral herself wrote it. Also, the rumor that Tsunami is the last princess proves to be old news; she has a little sister, an adorable dragonet named Anemone whom Coral keeps on a short leash (literally), and two unhatched females remain in the royal egg hatchery.

Besides being a queen and an author, Coral is (unfortunately) an ally of Blister, one of the claimants to the SandWing throne behind the long-running conflict. She has Tsunami's fellow Dragonets of Destiny locked up until Blister can come and look at them. More bad news quickly follows. First, Tsunami now discovers that the SeaWing she was forced to kill in the SkyWing queen's arena was actually her royal father, driven insane by thirst. Second, someone in Queen Coral's court wants to kill her, Tsunami, and is trying to assassinate the other princesses either before or after they hatch. Third, a certain dragon that Tsunami fancies, turns out to be a spy for the Talons of Peace, who aren't as nice as they sound; meanwhile, two of the dragons who raised Tsunami and her friends are found near the SeaWing court, one of them dead and the other under a sentence of death – but something about their arrival suggests that the security of Queen Coral's court is at risk, and danger is coming. Finally, Tsunami herself struggles to decide where she belongs, whether her place is alongside her mother or with the diverse group of friends she brought with her, and whose fate remains uncertain.

Told from the point of view of young adult dragons in a fascinating and complex world of wing, claw, fire and gills (because, don't you know, Tsunami's folk can breathe underwater), this adventure mingles mystery, action, family drama, epic quest and just a hint of romance. Switching point of view from the previous installment's central character (Clay, the MudWing), it shows a brash, arrogant young creature being cut down to size a bit, learning to listen to others a bit instead of just bossing everybody around, and delicately juggling a bunch of dangerous secrets with the ultimate aim of making peace and saving lives. The dragon worldview is a bit scary when you look at it long enough, and even the creature who pronounced the prophecy has some pretty ruthless ideas about how to bring it to reality. But at bottom, the bond between Tsunami and her friends Clay, Glory, Sunny and Starflight looks, sounds and smells like their world's best chance for peace – if they can survive long enough.

This is the second of going on 14 "Wings of Fire" books, starting with The Dragonet Prophecy and continuing through the December 2020 release The Dangerous Gift. The next installment after this is The Hidden Kingdom. Other titles by children's author Tui T. Sutherland include the "Avatars" trilogy, eight "Pet Trouble" books, The "Menagerie" trilogy (co-authored with Kari Sutherland), a handful of "Wings of Fire" spinoffs, the young adult novel This Must Be Love, an installment in the multi-author "Spirit Animals" series titled Against the Tide, the non-fiction book Who Was Harry Houdini? and some kiddie picture books.

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