by Jessica Day George
Dragon Slippers is a 2007 Cybils nominee.
Creel and her brother Hagen live with their aunt and uncle, who took them in when their parents died. But the family is poor, and Creel, with no prospects for a good marriage, is a liability. So Creel’s aunt sets her mind on a plan: Creel will offer herself to the dragon, and when the dragon takes her prisoner, a brave knight will rescue her and marry her, taking the entire family to live in his castle. Creel knows it’s a stupid plan, but she has no choice but to go along with it.
Right from the start, things don’t go according to plan. The dragon doesn’t want to take her prisoner. He really doesn’t want to battle a knight. And he doesn’t hoard gold; he hoards shoes. Creel makes a deal with him: she’ll leave, taking the need to battle the knight with her, in exchange for a pair of shoes. As Creel heads off to seek her fortune in the city, she has no idea just how much trouble those shoes are going to cause…
Dragon Slippers is a must-read book for dragon fans. It’s a delightful book with a fairy-tale feel, but with more depth and better developed characters than your typical fairy tale. The story is told in the first person, and Creel’s voice is a fascinating blend of naiveté and worldliness. She has a certain appealing innocence about her, and yet she displays quite a bit of grit and determination.
But the best thing about this book is the dragons. Author Jessica Day George has imbued her dragons with distinctive personalities. And each dragon hoards something different: one collects shoes, another one tapestries and others…well, you’ll just have to read it and see. I don’t want to give too much away. From the noble Shardas to the anxiety-ridden Feniul, you’ll love them all. The book is at its best when the dragons are in the picture.
There’s more to this book than dragons, though. There’s a budding romance with a prince and even a ball, but Creel is no passive Cinderella. She’s determined to make her own way in the world, and the ball is one for people who want to start their own business to help them find patrons to invest money to get them started. There’s also a war, and heroes, and a message about how leaders sometimes distort the truth for their own ends.
For all Creel’s good points, though, at times she seems a bit dim. You want to slap her for the things that she doesn’t see. And the book drags a little in places. Overall, though, it’s quite an enjoyable story that will appeal to dragon lovers and those who love modern fairy-tale type stories.