David is a college student who moves into the Pennykettle residence only to find much more than he expected. Liz Pennykettle makes clay dragons but there is something about the dragons. They almost seem…real. Liz and her rambunctious daughter Lucy sure seem to think so. David is determined to discover the truth about the dragons.
What’s more, there is a one eyed squirrel named Conker in the garden that Lucy is desperate to help. No one knows how it happened. Lucy manages to rope David into her plans and together they attempt to catch the squirrel in order to take it to the vet. Can they discover what hurt Conker and save him in time?
Liz makes David a special dragon, one that helps inspire his writing, he begins writing a story for Lucy about the squirrels. There is on rule that Liz gives him about his dragon: never make it cry.
This book is somewhat unusual for a children’s book series for a number of reasons. One is that the main character is in college, rather than a child. (Of course, there is Lucy, who is ten going on eleven, but while important to the story, she isn’t the person we follow.) The other is that despite being a fantasy story, there is not all that much action-adventure involved. And while most fantasy novels have a true villain, this story does not.
But what The Fire Within lacks in action it makes up for with curiosity and intrigue. The dragons in the novel are nothing like the dragons of other series. Of course, they aren’t what they used to be in the story either. The dragons of old, the “real” dragons, were more like the dragons we imagine. They’re large and intimidating, with sharp teeth and claws, wings, and the ability to breath fire. But when the last dragon was about to die, he gave his light to a human, forever changing the shape and form that the dragons of the future would take.
The book was interesting, though I am curious to see where D’Lacey intends to take the series from here. (Clearly he’s managed since there’s 3-4 more books out, but I can’t really imagine what storyline we’ll see, beyond more information about how dragons became clay creatures.