Review: Dragon Frontier – Burning Moon / Author: Dan Abnett / Publisher: Puffin / Release Date: Out Now
Dan Abnett has a reputation for being highly prolific and extremely flexible. His work in the past includes tie-in fiction for Doctor Who and Warhammer 40K, dozens of comic books and the odd bit of original fiction here and there. Even though the range is pretty broad, most of the work tends to be on the darker side of things, so it was a slight surprise when it was announced that he was working on a range of books called Dragon Frontier, aimed at children aged nine to ninety-nine.
Dragon Frontier – Burning Moon is the latest book in the series and picks up where the last one left off. It’s the tale of Jake Polson, a young boy trying to survive on the American frontier following a tragic attack on a wagon train that has separated him from his family. This, however, was no ordinary raid; as you may have been able to surmise from the title, this version of the Wild West features fire-breathing dragons. After the events of the first book, Jake is now a Dragon Rider, taking lessons in the art from the natives. Burning Moon delves deeper into this world, and gives us strong glimpses into where the dragons are from.
Abnett skilfully blends high concept fantasy into the grittiness of the Wild West, without making things too dark. There’s plenty of action and the characters are nice. As this book is aimed squarely at younger readers do not expect overly complex characterisation; the bad guys are dumb and greedy, the father figures are gruff and fatherly and the bratty yet brave friend is amusing and annoying in equal measure.
Despite being the second part of an ongoing series, Burning Moon keeps a consistent pace throughout and has an enjoyable beginning, middle and end. That said, it does suffer somewhat from being only part of a greater whole; you really need to have read the first book. Adult readers will find this a very relaxing and easy read, whilst younger types are unlikely to have encountered anything quite like this before and should be in for a treat.