Thursday 14 September 2023

Dragon Games: The Thunder Egg

Dragon Games: The Thunder Egg by Maddy Mara. Scholastic Australia 2023. Paperback RRP $12.00. e-book RRP $6.38. ISBN 9781760262020.

Reviewed by Debra Williams

This is the first in a new series by the writing duo, Maddy Mara, the pen name of writers Hilary Rogers and Meredith Badger, who have released several bestselling children’s book series, including The Dragon Girls.

Dragon Games: The Thunder Egg is a chapter book. Three classmates, Luca, Yazmine, and Zane are asked to stay behind one lunchtime, for reasons unknown, by their teacher, Ms Long. The teacher often tells tales of a supposedly imaginary land called Imperia. The classroom is old-fashioned, containing a blackboard and a locked glass display cabinet which contains various objects, including a football-sized rock that Ms Long refers to as a geode, also known as a Thunder Egg. She has warned her students that if any of them interfere with the egg, they will find themselves “in a whole world of trouble.”

As the students await her arrival, they stare quizzically at a strange drawing on the blackboard containing things which look like a crown, a tooth, and a fork. The three students try to work it out and suddenly realise it’s a sketch of a map of Imperia, and so they say the name aloud together. As they do, the glass cabinet unlocks, and the thunder egg rolls forward. One of the students catches it and throws it to another. Lights flicker, colours flash and nobody understands what is happening.

Thus begins a fantastic and dangerous, adventurous game. The three find themselves elsewhere, and dramatically changed. Eventually they realise that the Thunder Egg has taken them to Imperia and needs to be taken home to a secret location. Through seemingly impossible obstacles, threatening creatures, perilous journeys and an evil ruler, the classmates move ahead in the quest. Will they achieve the mission and survive?

This story is guaranteed to thrill young readers 7+ years of age. The authors have left the ending ready to lead into the next adventure in the series. Five stars.

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