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Book Review: Journey to Dragon Island by Claire Fayers

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaas! You have no idea how excited I was about this book. I mean seriously, I got sent a proof copy at work and I scared some people with my enthusiasm. This is the level of excitement we’re talking about here. Eeeeek! And now the official release date draws near and I can finally review it!

As you may be aware, Journey to Dragon Island is the second book in the Accidental Pirates series, which begins with Voyage to Magical North, a book I absolutely adored and cannot recommend enough to people young and old. Pirates, magic, snarky villains and terrible puns. It’s great, go read it.

“Reaching the edge of the world can’t stop the crewdragon island of the Onion! It’s westward ho in search of dragons, no matter the obstacles. And there are obstacles. Flesh-eating vines, violent locals, and mischievous magi―not to mention Marfak West’s ghost―meet the pirates when they land on the Western Island, where a volcano threatens to end them all. Together, Brine and Peter might just be able to save the crew, the island, and themselves. Or they might all go up in flames. It really could go either way.”

Brine, Tom, Peter and the crew of the Onion are back and there’re heading to the mythical Western Isle or “Dragon Island” in search of Brine’s long lost family, her memories and hopefully, some dragons.

While I get the allure of dragons, they totally missed an opportunity to call the book ‘Attack of the Flying Dinosaur Poo’ instead. Probably would have to be aimed at a younger audience for that one though. I’d buy it. I don’t remember there being this much blood in the first book. Not that it’s bad thing, I just don’t think there was as much gore as there seems to be in this one, an improvement if anything. You can’t have pirates running around waving cutlasses about and not have some blood somewhere. Especially since “waving cutlasses about is the definition of a distraction.”

In all seriousness, it’s another fun-filled pirate adventure full of heart and morals and just a touch of Snarky Villain. Yes, Marfak West is back and just as snarky as ever, just when you think you’ll have to start rootin… I mean hating… yes… hating…, a new baddie, Mr West shows up to remind them how it’s done. Brilliant.

Never trust a magician. I swear, all of them are evil. Turns out Marfak learned his craft from the magicians of Dragon Island and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree… Although it’s not just the magicians on the island who are hostile, Cassie’s crew have their work cut out for them trying to win this lot over. Definitely fun to read and I would love to know more about Marapi and her little revolution.

I’m quite impressed with the way in which Peter has been written. I hated him in the first book, I thought he was a stuck up, entitled little brat who needed a reality check. Now I actually feel sorry for him! He’s making a real effort to be nicer and fit in more and he’s genuinely worried about using magic and then whenever anything goes wrong everyone starts blaming him, even when he had nothing to do with it. Now I want to give him a hug and tell him it will all be ok. That’s some impressive character progression. Well played Ms Fayers. Well played.

Just as witty and full of references for adults as the first book (I’m sure I spotted a Yoda reference in there), but also driven by character development and a story that has more twists and sideswipes than a game of dragon tennis, this instalment takes everything that was good about Voyage to Magical North and runs with it. Gripping, cliff-hangers, floating castles, dragons, dinosaurs and evil magicians, a must read for fans of magic, pirates and dinos. 4 Stars.

4/5 ****

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