The day when Arne disappeared was made of gold. It was one of those late October days when the colors flare brightly once more before finally fading away, one of those days when you seem to catch a last breath of summer, although the streets are full of sweaters and corduroy pants.
Dragons of Darkness is by Antonia Michaelis, author of Tiger Moon and The Storyteller. Dragons of Darkness is more in the vein of Tiger Moon; it’s not as dark and grim as The Storyteller. It’s a sort of modern fairy tale or fable, starring two boys. Christopher is a German boy whose older brother Arne vanished into Nepal. Somehow he ends up in Nepal with Jumar, the mysteriously invisible prince. And there are many problems facing Nepal. You see, deadly dragons have come out of the mountains and are attacking the villages. These dragons drain color from the land and turn anyone under their shadow into bronze. And also, the Communists are threatening the king’s reign. Jumar and Christopher must somehow save the country.
What interested me was that the dragons here are evil, whereas most Asian dragons are considered helpful and good, sometimes supplying the people with precious water. But maybe that’s only Chinese dragons. These dragons were more like European dragons (though even more powerful.)
Dragons of Darkness (also published by Abrams) is an easy but engaging fantasy. I wanted to share a particular quote that struck me while I was reading. Jumar and Christopher have both discovered disgusting leeches on their legs. “Leeches don’t distinguish between visible and invisible prey. They are both deaf and blind. All they can detect is body heat, and they don’t care whether they suck noble blood or the blood of a commoner. Leeches are natural Communists.”
Read Dragons of Darkness:
- if you like Antonia Michaelis
- if you like fantasy in the style of a modern fairy tale
- if you like books set in Nepal