The Dragon Games
The Books of Umber
P. W. Catanese
Hap would much rather stay in Umber's large home, the Aerie, than go out on another of Lord Umber's wild adventures, but when Umber receives two strange messages, Hap, Oates, and Umber are whisked away on a new adventure. One message, from Umber's old Librarian, Caspar, is a desperate plea for help and a promise to give Umber crucial information about Hap. The other is most puzzling to Umber, an invitation to an event referred to as the Dragon games. Soon the three set out, first heading toward the Inferno, a deadly ring of volcanos, to help Caspar. With no way to help him, they narrowly escape destruction on their way to the Dragon Games. When they arrive in the foreign land, Umber is appalled by the harsh treatment of the dragons, and a complicated plan hatches to save the dragons, as well as the oppressed people of the land...
Unlike many of the books I have read recently, this book is much happier. Though it does mention the destruction of our world (the saving of which seems likely to be the eventual climax of the series), the world described is much like a fairy tale, with fantastic beasts and magic (though it has a fair share of problems, nonetheless). The feuding between the three princes seems very shocking, but as my history class has pointed out, is very realistic of that age of society. It is hard to believe that power is worth such betrayal. I continue to like Umber with such an imagination and desire for adventure. All of his intentions are good, and he is a very happy man. (He kind of reminds me of Uncle Nimrod from the Children of the Lamp series (speaking of which, I am reading the Five Fakirs of Faizabad right now. Review might come tomorrow if I can finish it.)) Even with a lot more of Hap's past revealed, he still remains such a mystery. I think the concept of having a character that can remember nothing of his past is very intriguing. Hopefully, we will continue to learn more about him in future novels. (I believe number three comes out in February, called The End of Time.)
What creature from this book seems the most frightening?
Which prince do you think would make the best king? Supposing that Umber had never come to their land, would that change your answer?
Is WN (Willy-Nilly?) good or bad? Maybe both?
As usual, please leave comments, reactions, and answers!