Isle of Dragons champions fast-paced action-adventure without sacrificing the depth of its characters or the richness of its fascinating universe. Thompson’s bold take on world building manages to set the book apart and present a truly original narrative. The interplay between “old magic” and “new technology” work together to convey a poignant message about the corruption of the royal court and what happens when we fail to reconcile the possibilities of the future with the reality of history. The book’s charming characters serve to offer us a light at the end of that tunnel. As they plunge into the unknown, we can see that their heroism is not just bound to the events of the book, but can be found in the hope they present for the future of their world.
Thompson is a master at embedding these rich undertones in the story’s quick, engaging action. Novels that excel in the action-adventure genre are ones that can use familiar tropes to tell unique stories. One of the book’s central themes, for example, is the sacredness of family — one that’s relatively common for the genre. However, the dynamics between Miria and Dan and the subplotted loss of their parents positioned alongside Jade’s search for her own father all work together to weave an original, textured approach to an otherwise cliched theme, defiantly reminding us that there are still new ways to tell stories. Adjacently, Thompson explores the theme of community with astounding poise and originality through the close bond forged between Jade, Miria, and Dan. Whether through sharing trauma or working together to overcome hardship, the characters teach us something about friendship that resonates especially well with today’s audience. In this way, Thompson explores another rather common theme, finding the perfect language to spin it in a new, relatable way.
Isle of Dragons is one of a kind; its well-written characters will carry you along its rich, magical landscape.