Bradley’s Dragons, by Patrick Matthews | Dedicated Review
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The Children’s Book Review | July 6, 2020
Written by Patrick Matthews
Age Range: 10-14
Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: Second Story Up (July 7, 2020)
What to expect: Magic, Mystery, Mythical Creatures, and Coming-of-Age
Magic, mystery, family secrets, and danger abound in this fast-paced, coming-of-age fantasy novel—the third book by author Patrick Matthews centered around dragons. The novel teems with drama from the first page, and readers will be swept up by intrigue and action.
Who is the hunter that goes by the name of Max? What does he want with nine-year-old Bradley Nash? Bradley’s parents have moved to a Florida trailer park to hide and keep him safe, but from who? He suffers from anxiety, particularly around strangers, and he doesn’t understand why. Bradley has no recollection of the perilous events that took place three years ago. Just before his twelfth birthday, his entire life turns upside down. He finds a book about dragons filled with cryptic dictums—”The most important part of your journey is choosing your direction.” He discovers that his family is not who he thinks they are. A wealthy older man with glassy eyes moves into the abandoned trailer nearby at the same time Bradley discovers there is a hunter after him. With his life filled with danger, he will need to dig deep to overcome his self-doubt and anxiety, learn to trust his instincts, and find his true calling if he is to survive an encounter with a very dangerous foe.
Matthews’ fresh mythical depictions of dragons and fairies (fae) weave their magic on the mind in an enchanting, page-turning way. Intertwined concepts such as facing fears, growing up, and fitting in are well-suited to the intended audience and allow the reader to relate and connect well with Bradley. The story is carefully plotted with an intensity that builds and unfolds with talented pacing.
“Moonlight streamed down on Mr. Sallson, but no breeze disturbed the trees around him. No insects chirped in the trees. No frogs called out from the river. The night seemed to be holding its breath.”
Bradley’s Dragons is an excellent choice for readers who enjoy thought-provoking, thrilling, and suspenseful fantasy stories!
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About the Author
A newspaper columnist, editor, and award-winning game designer, Patrick Matthews’ first novel was published by Scholastic in 2013. Bradley’s Dragons is his third published novel. Mr. Matthews writes fast-paced fiction that takes readers on exciting adventures but also gives them a chance to think about the world around them, to consider hard questions before they need to be answered.
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