Reviews for Dragon Games

Booklist Reviews 2009 December #2
Young Happenstance has had enough excitement to last a lifetime, but his peripatetic mentor, Lord Umber, is constantly curious. Thus, they are off again in search of mysteries, bidmis, and dragon games. No smooth sailing here, as danger looms at every turn and not even kings are safe. Round two in the Books of Umber delivers more imaginative adventures and tantalizing hints about Hap's past and Umber's hopes for him. Catanese is still laying groundwork (the assassination subplot sits apart from the main story), but readers will find plenty of satisfying action and lots of narrow escapes. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
In this engrossing sequel to Happenstance Found, the main character--he of the strange green eyes, magical powers, no memory, and no need for sleep--goes on a voyage with his mercurial guardian, Lord Umber. Along the way, Hap encounters both mysterious gifts and gruesome monsters. More tantalizing clues about Hap's identity are dropped throughout the tale. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 December #2
This sequel to Happenstance Found (2009) takes Hap (in the company of his manic-depressive patron, Lord Umber) all over the map of fantasyland. Umber is careless of the safety of his companions, most notably Hap and Oates, the loyal but angry companion who is cursed to tell the truth. With so cavalier a leader, it's no surprise Hap ends up in constant danger: threatened by sleeping sea-giants, nearly burned to death in the lava-spewing inferno, almost eaten by ghost-ridden crabs and vicious, gnome-like bidmis, chased by megalomaniac princes and constantly endangered by political intrigue. Hap doesn't have much initiative, mostly following Umber's direction as they careen around the world. The adventure feels more like Umber's than like Hap's, at any rate. Despite the overshadowing of the protagonist, the fast-paced and high-energy action of this video-game-like quest will please fantasy adventure fans. (Fantasy. 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 July

Gr 5-8-- This is a true roller coaster of a book, starting with sea-giants and ending with soul crabs (surely one of the creepier inventions in recent literary history), with plenty of loops and drops and zero-g moments in between. The mostly ebullient Lord Umber and his unusual ward, Happenstance, experience one adventure after another--some simply to feed Umber's insatiable need to learn about his world, others with more complicated purposes. At home, the future of the crown is in some doubt. Umber is concerned, but the opportunity to study dragons is irresistible, so he and Hap, along with the incurably honest Oates and some new and/or unusual friends, travel to Sarnica, a kingdom ruled by a corrupt king and his worse son. They soon find themselves caught up in a civil war. Catanese has imagination to spare, with new wonders around every corner. A few scenes of war, slavery, and animal abuse may disturb some readers, though more is implied than actually described. Youngsters learn something of Happenstance's background and get a taste of Umber's early days, but only enough of both to whet appetites for the next book. Familiarity with the first book isn't necessary, but readers will want to get their hands on it after reading this one.--Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

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