The Ivory Castle (Book One of the Drakonii Saga) by Guillermo Nodarse

Two young boys, Leopoldo and Antonio, are orphaned in a small, poor village. When their neighbors cannot support them, they must find a way to survive elsewhere. They are chased into the woods by wolves where they discover an old witch. They’ve been warned about witches–evil women who trick young children and gobble them up–but they’re hungry and cold. But the witch is not evil as they had feared, and not necessarily old either, and she takes them in to be her apprentices. Because Leopoldo and Antonio have the Dragon Gift, they can become dragons. Their world changes as they learn the truth about their past and are drawn into a battle against The Dark Prince Lucio and his raven adviser Gratus, who seek to wipe all Dragons from the world.

The beginning of this book reads like the type of fairytale you might have heard as a child, the little anecdote about how some mysterious person tests the hero to see if they are truly good, but as the story continues, it becomes much more than that. And when I finished reading I was left wanting to know what would happen next, always a good sign. To me, this is one of the better children’s books that I have read. It has some weak points (particularly that things are often interrupted for no reason with instructions for the kids to go to bed–what child would not pursue their past when just informed that everything they’ve ever believed isn’t really true?) but overall, it flows well and is enjoyable.

Currently this book is self-published and only available on the author’s website but I definitely think it is worth the investment. And while I’m not thrilled with the illustrations in the book (they’re sort of hazy and vague), the cover is possibly one of the best fantasy covers I’ve found, which definitely makes me happy since most are pretty lame.


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