Thursday, September 01, 2011

Review: The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Guay

The Last Dragon I just read an advanced copy of the graphic novel The Last Dragon by author Jane Yolen and illustrator Rebecca Guay.

If you're a fan of fantasy fiction, chances are you already know and love Jane Yolen. This story is vintage Yolen... a charming, enjoyable tale with an almost surreal fairy tale vibe, Yolen tells the story of a young woman in a small town where dragons had been completely killed off hundreds of years ago. But a carefully hidden egg has now hatched, and the whole town is in danger, as the last dragon begins eating livestock... and the townsfolk. Panicked, the town sends an envoy to find a "hero" but end up with an opportunistic con man whose most valuable skill is a love for flying kites.

The art by Rebecca Guay (whose work I first saw in the "Books of Magic" comic series) is perfect for the story. She's produced beautifully painted fantasy illustrations throughout, making sure the dragon is fantastical and the people look like someone who could live next door instead of steroid-induced monstrosities (a common issue with comic art).

The story was a lot of fun, with a careful buildup and a satisfying ending. There's no gore or violence despite the fact that multiple people are eaten. I'm thinking of buying a copy for my daughters, who are always looking for a new fantasy book... the story is about courage and the commitment we should have to protecting those around us, and those are great themes for my kids to be thinking about!

All in all, a fun and engaging graphic novel that I can heartily recommend!