A beautiful story – an engaging and original concept
The Dragon Dreamer by J. S. Burke is definitely NOT just another dragon story. As I began to read, I was confused about how a dragon and an octopus could become friends. By the end of the first chapter, I had taken the bait and was hooked. The storyline is creative and original, a fantasy tale with similarities to real life. The book is a beautiful story, a fun, whimsical read and a smart read all in one, not easy to accomplish. It is appropriate for all ages, including adults.
Arak is a young dragon who feels different from the rest of his clan and is teased for his unique gift. Through an accident, Arak encounters Scree, a wise and open-minded octopus, and the healer for her pod. They learn to communicate with body and sign language and become friends, and soon clan and pod are interacting, trading goods, exchanging stories, learning about another culture, and building many more friendships. The pod, clan, and individuals of each experience various issues. First, as mentioned, are Arak’s feelings about being different, and how he handles the teasing and bullying from other dragons. Second are the interactions between two very different cultures (“sky swimmers” vs. ocean dwellers) who learn that they aren’t so different at all. Additionally, Arak has begun to develop feelings for Zarina, someone he’s always been friends with but who is now a dragon-lady. I was pleased to see this in the book, as I feel that it is beneficial to be friends before growing a relationship.
Each culture has their issues to contend with at home. The dragons suffer a severe health issue, and Arak is desperate to find a solution. The octopi pod endure an attack which provides Scree with a unique opportunity to put her talents and personality to an all-new, extremely dangerous, test.