(This free book was sent to me by the publisher)
WOW, oh, WOW!!!! If someone had handed me The Griffin’s Feather (Dragon Rider #2) and I had read it without knowing anything about it, I would not have guessed that this book is intended for middle grade readers. I fell into it headfirst and fell in love.The synopsis follows below:
It’s now been two years since Ben and Firedrake defeated Nettlebrand and rescued the silver dragons. Both boy and dragon have finally found homes, but they must live hundreds of miles apart and can only see each other every once in a while.
During one such visit, news reaches Ben, the Greenblooms, and their friends that the last Pegasus in the world has been discovered. The legendary horse has three unhatched eggs with him, but the only way they’ll ever hatch — and continue the survival of this incredible magical species — is to place them under a griffin’s feather. But griffins are the most dangerous creatures in the world, and their mortal enemies are dragons…
Ben has vowed not to tell Firedrake about his quest, to protect him. But as he and the Greenbloom team set off for a remote island where the terrible griffins are rumored to live, he may just need the help of his best friend and dragon…
To start, for those of you, who like me, did not read the first Dragon Rider book, never fear! One of the first things that I saw when I opened this book was a glorious map of the world as Ben and the dragons know it. Even better, in the back was an alphabetical who’s who, organized by type of creature. Funke added references to the previous book in the series as well as all the characters and species that are found in The Griffin’s Feather.
Also appealing (despite the fact that it was probably intended for younger readers) were the illustrations that wound themselves around the edges of the pages. As someone who sometimes struggles to recreate the image of fantastical creatures in my head, it was a gift to be able to see the artist’s rendering of what these fabulous beings looked like.
And fabulous beings there were. This story includes Pegasi, dragons, griffins, centaurs, trolls, homunculi… I could keep going but I fear my fingers would fall off (and each one is wonderfully described in that who’s who that I mentioned above). Through Funke’s love for these extraordinary beings, we see her love for the no less extraordinary ones that inhabit the Earth with us (such as monkeys, apes and birds). Over and over again, the pages leaked a warmth toward all species, and I wished, that like the Greenblooms, I could save all the species on the planet. If you have a younger child that wants to read this book, they will most definitely have the heart of a conservationist at the end of it.
Other lessons that Cornelia Funke teaches throughout The Griffin’s Feather include that money is not a substitute for love, that judging someone by their species (or skin) can prevent extraordinary friendships from happening, and that hard work and perseverance will always be the way. I fell in head first, into the plot that was as twisty and dense as the jungle in which it was set. As I followed Ben (the MC) and Drakefire, his dragon, I felt a kinship with them that I certainly did not expect. I rooted for them, and for the hordes of new animals they discovered along the way. And most of all, I wished all humans could learn to think the way that the courageous and kind Greenblooms do. This whimsical story had so many things to teach, even to the oldest of adults. I would highly recommend this book for readers of all ages, from the middle grades it was intended to, to toddlers and octogenarians.
As for me, I hope to read Cornelia Funke’s work again. If her Inkheart series is anywhere near this book, I will be stuck in a reading Funke (haha, get it?). I have finally found another series to put on my TBR. Have you read Cornelia Funke before?