First off I want to offer full disclosure that author Dianne Gardner provided an ARC copy of the novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Dragon Shield is filled with teen angst, the problems arising from miscommunications between father and son and all the issues a boy deals with as he transitions into becoming a man. And dragons. Don’t forget the dragon.
Set against the backdrop of the Realm, a magical place where computer-generated characters become real and a ferocious fire-breathing dragon that scours the countryside, we find a now eighteen-year old Ian struggling to deal with the changes in his life following the first book in the series, Deception Peak. Without offering up too many spoilers, I found this young adult novel to hit all the right notes and reminded me of the many of the challenges I faced as teenager.
Ian must deal with the revelation his good friend Abby, who is more like a sister to him, wants more out of their relationship than he may be willing to give. He must deal with the loss of his father and decide what his future holds. Should he stay in the “real world” and study graphic design and lead a “normal life” or return to the Realm and find out what happened to his father?
Well, as it would make a pretty dull novel otherwise, I’m sure you can guess what choice he makes. But the choice is not without consequences. The age of eighteen is filled with enough doubt as it is, but Gardner captures the tug and pull Ian feels with every decision.
Though this definitely a book geared towards the guys, it is a book I would love for my girls to read. I recommend all who enjoy a good YA fantasy adventure to give the book a try.
You can buy the Kindle edition at Amazon.
Here is some of Dianne’s art work which appears in the book.
More about Dianne Gardner:
Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living in the Pacific Northwest. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers. She’s also an award-winning artist.
Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a tepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.
Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor’s apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she draws on both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing, seeking not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories’ characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.