Caramel reviews Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland

Caramel loves all things dragon, and has read and reviewed all fifteen books in Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. (His review of the fifteenth book, The Flames of Hope, contains links to all his reviews of the previous books.) Last week, he reviewed Darkstalker, the first of Sutherland’s “Wings of Fire: Legends” series that recounts some of the backstories and the legends of the world of dragons, in a way explaining and interpreting the events of the original series. Today he talks with Sprinkles about Dragonslayer, the second book in the Legends series, which was published, in 2020, in between books thirteen, The Poison Jungle (2019), and fourteen, The Dangerous Gift (2021).

Caramel reviews Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland.
Caramel reviews Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland.

Sprinkles: Caramel, last week you reviewed Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland, tbe first book of the “Wings of Fire: Legends” series, and here we are today, with the second book. What do you want to tell us about it?

Caramel: It is as good as Darkstalker, but it is very different from all the other Wings of Fire books because its main characters are humans this time, and not dragons.

S: That is interesting! The dragons call humans “scavengers”, right?

C: Yup.

S: Why is that?

C: I don’t know. They never really explain.

S: Maybe it is a way to show us how the dragons see humans, as weak creatures skulking about, and trying to steal treasure or food when they can.

C: Maybe.

S: Okay, sorry for the distraction. Tell me more about Dragonslayer.

C: Okay. There are three main characters in this book, just like in Darkstalker. They are called Ivy, Leaf, and Wren. My favorite is Wren, because she is a strong female character, and she can talk to dragons, which I think is awesome.

S: I think she is abandoned by the other humans so makes friends with a dragon, right?

C: Yes, that’s more or less accurate. And Leaf is Wren’s brother but thinks she is dead. Everyone thinks Wren is dead. They tried to feed her to the dragons, but they messed up.

S: So they wanted to sacrifice her somehow?

C: Yes, exactly. So the humans live in villages, and they end up causing the war that was the main topic of the first five books in Wings of Fire. They kill the SandWing queen Oasis, and so a war begins among the SandWings to choose a new queen between her three daughters, Blister, Blaze, and Burn.

S: I remember that was the main problem in the Dragonet Prophecy story arc.

C: We even see the dragonets in their cave in this book! In fact we even see Kestrel, the female SkyWing who was one of their guardians. And we see Kestrel’s other child, Peril’s brother. It’s pretty cool.

S: So you would benefit from having read the first five books before reading this one, right?

C: I guess. But I think you could even start with this book if you wanted to. It does not say anything about the prophecy.

S: But I guess if you started the Wings of Fire series with this book, you would probably get the wrong idea. Because this one is all about humans and told from their perspective. And all the other books are about and from the perspective of the dragons. So Dragonslayer is in some ways quite peculiar among all the other books, right?

C: Yes. And I am not sure I love that it is about humans. I do like the series because I really like the dragons and I want to learn about their world.

S: Still, maybe one book out of seventeen so far being centered around some human characters might be acceptable?

C: Yes. I am not really complaining. I like the book. But maybe I like the ones told from the dragons’ points of view a bit more.

Caramel is reading Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland.
Caramel is reading Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland.

S: So you told us a bit about the main characters, and you told us that one could read it any time in parallel with the other books in the series —

C: Well, they should probably read it before the fourteenth book, The Dangerous Gift.

S: Why is that?

C: Some of the characters show up as important characters in the last two books, and so it would be helpful to know their backstory. And actually, some of them apparently show up even earlier, in The Brightest Night, the fifth book. But I read the whole series before the Legends, and that worked well, too.

S: I see. So can you tell me in one sentence or two what the story is about? What are Ivy and Leaf and Wren doing?

C: The story tells us the human version of the events in Pyrrhia. But also Leaf and Ivy are looking for Wren, because at some point Leaf realizes Wren is not dead.

S: Who is the Dragonslayer in the title?

C: It is Ivy’s father. He is known as the dragon slayer because he apparently has slayed dragons in his youth, but Ivy eventually learns a lot more about him. We also read about how Wren learns to communicate with a dragon so that there might be some hope for humans and dragons to live in harmony.

S: Hmm, so this could eventually merge with your other favorite dragon story, the How to Train Your Dragon series, where humans and dragons are living in some sort of cooperative relationship, at least the TV series version?

C: Well, I think that could be neat. But then again, I also like that the dragons in Pyrrhia and Pantala can tell their stories independent of the humans. So I don’t need that to happen; I don’t need dragons and humans to become friends. The dragons are cool the way they are. But maybe they could be less cruel to humans.

S: I agree. So let us wrap things up with your three words for this book.

C: Human, amazing, funny. Human because there are humans as main characters now. And all the books in the series are amazing! And they are funny!

S: Those will work. What do you want to tell our readers now?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading and rereading Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland so many times, the book is already showing some wear-and-tear, but it is clear that even this will not stop him from continuing to read and reread his favorite series over and over again.
Caramel enjoyed reading and rereading Dragonslayer by Tui Sutherland so many times that the book is already showing some wear-and-tear, but it is clear that even this will not stop him from continuing to read and reread his favorite series over and over again.

Caramel reviews Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland

Caramel is a big fan of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series and has already read and reviewed all fifteen books in the series. [In fact, he reviewed some of them twice! See his review of the very first book of the series, The Dragonet Prophecy, and then its graphic novel version, The Dragonet Prophecy.] Today he reviews Darkstalker, a book in Sutherland’s Wings of Fire: Legends series, that was published in 2016, in between books eight (Escaping Peril, 2015) and nine (Talons of Power, 2016). As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.

Caramel reviews Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland.
Caramel reviews Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So here we are again, back with the dragons of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. Please tell us a bit about this book, Caramel.

Caramel: This book is about Darkstalker and his friends Fathom and Clearsight. He is a half-NightWing, half-IceWing hybrid.

S: I did not know there were hybrids in this world That’s cool.

C: Well, he is one of the very few that we saw so far.

S: I see.

C: Fathom is a SeaWing and was born in the Sea Kingdom. Clearsight is a full NightWing, born in the Night Kingdom, and she has the ability to see the future. Actually she does not see one future, but every single possible timeline in the future.

S: Well, does she know which will come to happen?

C: No, because a tiny tweak in an event today can change the future.

S: So the future is not determined yet.

C: True. What I say today, say I like pizza, maybe that will change someone’s view and that will change the future, because that person will decide to go out for pizza one day instead of something else. And see, I just changed the world.

S: Hmm, I see. It is cool. But so she does not quite have the sight, but can see all possible consequences. Like a really good chess master.

C: Kind of. Back to Darkstalker though. He also has a sister, named Whiteout. She is a hybrid too but looks a lot more like an IceWing. And she plays a big role in turning Darkstalker evil.

S: Yes, I seem to recall this Darkstalker, and he was bad.

C: Yes, he was mentioned in the fifth book, The Brightest Night, and showed up for real in the books of the second arc. He is only mentioned in Moon Rising, but rises from the ground in Winter Turning, and then he is present in the rest of the books of that story arc. And he is evil.

S: So the main character of this particular book is not a nice character.

C: Well, his friends Fathom and Clearsight are also main characters, and they are much better.

S: But the book is named after Darkstalker, so we learn a lot about him in it, right?

C: Yes, we see his rise and fall, how he becomes very powerful and then loses it all. He can’t die, he makes himself unhurtable, and then makes himself immortal. But the good dragons figure out a way to neutralize him and it involves Jade Mountain. But I won’t say more.

S: Maybe it is good because you are already giving away a lot of plot clues and spoilers!

C: Okay, so I will stop talking then.

S: No, don’t stop talking. Let us just move away from the plot and onto other things.

C: Sure.

Caramel is reading Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland.
Caramel is reading Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland.

S: Remember this book got out in between books eight and nine. Is the story happening in the time between those two books?

C: No, it is more like a backstory. The events in Darkstalker happened two thousand years ago and they explain his origins.

S: That is interesting. So is he at all a likeable character?

C: Well, he is evil, and he kills his own father, so I don’t think so. But we do learn his part of the story, and you can see how he slowly gets worse and worse as he becomes more and more powerful.

S: I see. Then if you had read this before reading Moon Rising, too much would be spoilt, because there, at least in the beginning, Moon does not yet know Darkstalker is evil.

C: Well, actually he makes himself look like he became good.

S: I can see how readers of the regular series might like to learn more about this ancient evil character. So did you enjoy the book?

C: Yes. Without a doubt. These legends books are neat. You get to learn a lot more about the world of the dragons.

S: So maybe you will tell us about the other legends book some time.

C: Yes, I had to read it as soon as I finished this one. So maybe we can talk about it next week.

S: We will see. But now it is time to finish this review. Can you give me three words to describe the book?

C: Handy-dandy. That means convenient and useful. It tells you how Darkstalker became evil so it is informative. And very interesting.

S: Okay, those are good words to summarize your thoughts and feelings about this book. Thank you. What do you want to tell our readers as we wrap things up?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland and learning some more of the backstory of the characters of his beloved Wings of Fire series. He's clearly not done with this series!
Caramel enjoyed reading Darkstalker by Tui Sutherland and learning some more of the backstory of the characters of his beloved Wings of Fire series. He’s clearly not done with this series!

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Caramel is a big fan of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. After some cajoling, a couple weeks ago, he finally dove into Sutherland’s Menagerie series, cowritten with Kari Sutherland. And he has already read and reviewed the first book (The Menagerie) and the second book (Dragon on Trial). Today he wraps up the series with a review of the third book: Kraken and Lies. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So this was book three of the Menagerie series. What did you think?

Caramel: It’s a good book!

S: I thought so too. Actually I liked this third book the most.

C: I didn’t. I think they were all good.

S: Yes, I do, too, but I kind of liked this one most because I thought it was so rich, and the authors tied up all the loose ends really well.

C: I agree. They did tie up a lot of loose ends. We even learned how and why the dragon was framed in Dragon on Trial.

S: You are very close to giving away a little too much Caramel. But yes, the unresolved issues from the earlier books all got cleared away in this one. But it was not only about resolving old issues, was it?

C: No, you are right. There is of course a new problem, a big one. Zoe’s ex-best-friend Jasmine’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, apparently know about the Menagerie and are scheming some evil plot to expose and exploit it.

S: Yes, that is a big existential threat for the Menagerie, right? Nobody is supposed to know about it, and the Sterlings were supposed to have drunk kraken ink and forgotten all they had seen and learned about the Menagerie.

C: Well, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling were supposed to not know about the Menagerie. But apparently Jonathan, Jasmine’s brother, dated Zoe’s sister Ruby, and Ruby told him about it. And then Jonathan tried to steal a jackalope. And a jackalope is kind of like a jackrabbit, but it is not a regular one. Its body looks like a rabbit but it has antlers! But also they are magical creatures, and their milk can cure any illness. And they can imitate human voice and fool humans!

S: Yes, they are cool! But back to Jonathan and Ruby.

C: Oh yes. So they have to break up and Jonathan has to drink the kraken ink to forget everything about her and the Menagerie, but the family all has to drink the kraken ink so they can all forget about Ruby as well. So it is very strange that they now know about the Menagerie. And they are only interested in money so they will want to exploit it. And in the middle of all this, Logan’s mom is still missing and the Sterlings seem to have something to do with it…

Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

S: Yes, that is correct. I think you described the central conflicts and plot problems of this book well, Caramel. So tell me, were there any new mythical creatures other than the jackalope that showed up?

C: There is Sapphire, a relative of Blue. She is a merperson.

S: Yes we saw merpeople before, though, no?

C: Well, here we see them a lot better because they go on a strike.

S: That is true; that part was very interesting.

C: And then we get to see the kraken a lot more up close.

S: That is true too.

C: And there is a Chinese dragon!

S: Yes! And the Chinese dragon has a pearl, a special pearl that holds its magic powers.

C: Yeah, that is true.

S: Did you know that Marshmallow has read and reviewed a book titled Dragon Pearl? You might actually like the book. It has all kinds of things you like: mythology, dragons, space ships!

C: Yes, that book sounds like just the kind of thing I would like to read. Maybe I will ask her to lend it to me.

S: I think she would be happy to share. But there were other magical mythical creatures in this book, no?

C: Yes, there was a selkie! A seal person!

S: Yes, that was a nice surprise, wasn’t it?

C: Yes, but now you are the one doing all the spoiling, Sprinkles!

S: Okay, okay, I’ll stop. So let us wrap things up then. Overall, did you like the Menagerie books?

C: Yes I liked them a lot. They are very different from the Wings of Fire books, but they are just as funny! And they are really cool, and I still think Squorp, the griffin cub, is the best ever!

S: Yes, I know. Okay, give me three words to describe the books and we are done.

C: Funny. And breath-taking, because I had to hold my breath a lot of the time, trying to see what would happen next.

S: And your third word?

C: Well-written. I thought the story flowed really well and always kept me on my toes.

S: True. I agree with that. So I think it is time to close this chapter of our lives and say good bye to the Menagerie and our friends Logan, Zoe, and Blue. How do you want to end this review Caramel!

C: By saying my usual words: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Today Caramel reviews Dragon on Trial, the second book of The Menagerie series written by Tui Sutherland, the author of Caramel’s beloved Wings of Fire series, and her sister Kari Sutherland. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you read this book really fast!

Caramel: Yes, I did.

S: Was it exciting?

C: Yes.

S: So will you tell us about it?

C: Yes, of course!

S: Do tell!

C: This book starts exactly where the last book, The Menagerie, ended. That book ended with the disappearance of Pelly, the golden egg laying goose. And in this book, the heroes, Logan, Zoe, and Blue, try to find out who killed Pelly.

S: Wait, is Pelly dead?

C: Well, it looks like that, at least in the beginning. But —

S: Wait, don’t tell. I still have not read this one, and I really want to.

C: Yes, you should read it. It is just as exciting as the first book.

S: I found the first book really fun and full of curious things. And a lot of mysteries. Is this one as good as that book?

C: Yes. And there are new magical mythical creatures that we meet, and they are awesome!

S: Can you name one?

C: We finally see and meet the dragons!

S: That’s cool. I know you like dragons a lot. Are the dragons of this book similar to any other dragons we met in any other book?

C: Not really. Scratch is a Western dragon and he can fly and he is big and long, and breathes fire. And all clues point to him being guilty of the death of the goose.

S: I see. So he is the “dragon on trial” that is mentioned in the title of the book. And as usual, things are not what they seem, right?

C: Exactly!

Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

S: So let us move a bit away from the plot so you don’t give away too much by mistake.

C: Okay.

S: Instead maybe we can talk about the characters. Other than the three friends Logan, Zoe, and Blue, do we meet some new important characters?

C: Well, not really. We do get to see the SNAPA agents a few more times. SNAPA stands for SuperNatural Animals Protection Agency.

S: Cool, kind of like a mixture of EPA and the CIA. Right?

C: Yeah, I guess. They are a government agency, trying to protect the mythical animals and they are pretty secretive.

S: Who was your favorite person in this book?

C: My favorite is still Squarp; that is the baby griffin cub that Logan found in his room in the first book.

S: Why is that?

C: Because he is a cute little baby animal!

S: And you are a cute little baby animal, too, so it makes total sense you would like him. He is also very playful and funny; I liked him too, in the first book.

C: You will like him in the second book too!

S: Okay, I think I am quite ready to begin reading the book. How about you? Are you itching to read the third book?

C: Yes!

S: Does this second book also end with a cliffhanger?

C: Kind of. The book ends with them finding out something very serious, a big danger for the menagerie.

S: I can’t wait to find out more! So let us wrap this up so we can both get reading. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and he cannot wait to get started on the third and last book of the series. Stay tuned!
Caramel loved reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and he cannot wait to get started on the third and last book of the series. Stay tuned!