Dragon Knight Fire!
Book review by Trevor Agnew
Dragon Knight: Fire! (2015) Kyle Mewburn, ill. Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ, Auckland, NZ, 96 pages, paperback, ISBN 978 1 77543 259 3
This first volume in the Dragon Knight series does a skilful job of establishing the premise and the main characters of what is going to be a popular series. ‘Dragon Knight’ is also an accurate precis of Kyle Mewburn’s medieval comic saga. Young Merek is hoping to become a knight in shining armour. The bad news for Merek (but good news for readers) is that Merek is also a shape-shifter, who spends some of his time as a dragon. In fact he has spikes in place of hair and sometimes sports a tail.
Merek duly attends knight school – yes, there are worse puns lurking in Mewburn’s prose – with his new friend Brin (who has a secret) and the malignant Percy – a junior Blackadder type. We have lots of swords and armour jokes as Sir Bragalot, “the most famous knight in the kingdom,” trains his unruly class of would-be knights.
Merek’s mother and father are also shape-shifters – part-time dragons. In a typical Mewburn jest, Merek’s father has joined the local Fire Brigade. “How was I supposed to know a fire brigade put out fires?” grumps Dad.
The tale is full of knock-about humour and fart jokes, with Merek always a jump ahead of disaster. Even the simplest of Merek’s sneezes can start a fire, so there are plenty of conflagrations and confrontations.
Donovan Bixley’s illustrations are an integral part of the story and add significantly to the mayhem. His delightfully detailed (and often gleefully disgusting) illustrations include a handsome map of Merek’s village, a guide to the Isle Beback Castle and an introduction to the principal features of dragons.
Fans of the Dinosaur Rescue series, especially those of the male persuasion, will love the Dragon Knight series. Readers of the female persuasion will have spotted something that Merek has not – there are more female characters than one might suspect.
24 Feb 2015