The Last Dragon Charmer:
Villain Keeper

22249699Author: Laurie McKay
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Series: The Last Dragon Charmer #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss DRC
Genre(s): Middle Grade Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers:  Low
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I’m always excited when books exceed my expectations. I decided to read Villain Keeper for one reason and one reason only: I really want to go hiking in and around Asheville, NC and this book was set there. A lame reason to read a book? I’ve read books for dumber reasons.

The simplistic title and kind of awful cover art work against this book. It’s unfortunate because it’s AMAZING. No, seriously. This is middle grade fantasy at it’s finest. And I loved how it turned the classic ‘portal fantasy’ trope on it’s head. Instead of a kid from our world being sucked into some fantasy world, this book features a young prince being forced into our world against his will where he’ll be entirely out of his element.

It’s such a great idea. And it grows into a really great book.

Prince Caden’s father spirits him away in the night to start a quest that should have been done with much more fanfare. And shortly after he finds himself and his sorceress friend, Brynne, stranded in a world without magic. Or so they assume at first. Caden quickly realizes that there is more to the town he finds himself in than meets the eye. His school is a prison for villains from his world. But their warden isn’t keeping them on short enough leashes. A girl has gone missing, there are dragons in the hills, and one of the greatest evils in Caden’s world is now teaching math.

Yeah. Like anyone needs even more of a reason to dread math.

Caden has to overcome the challenges presented by our world and still prove himself worthy to become an Elite Paladin back at home. He and his foster brother, Tito, and Brynne get together to try and find and rescue Jane – another girl from their foster home who went missing.

It’s a fantastic adventure for the lot of them and for us. Fast paced, with great characters, and a great premise – this book is a winner through and through.

Favorite Moments:

  • It was adorable how Caden knighted Tito with a broom stick handle. No longer a peasant, he is Sir Tito of Asheville!
  • Rosa’s reaction to Caden’s assumption that ‘grounding’ was a form of physical torture was super sad and kind of touching. What kind of home must she think he comes from?
  • Really, I just loved everyone’s reactions to Caden in this book – especially the cops who found him in the first place. It’s a miracle Rosa was able to keep this kid from being locked up for being absolutely insane.

I highly recommend this one, folks. Definitely worth a read!


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