The Dragon Prince, Book Two (Sky) by Aaron Ehasz and Melanie McGanney Ehasz
Genre: Fantasy Tie-in Novel
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: August 3, 2021
This is my first time reviewing a tie-in novel on this site, mostly because there usually isn’t too much (in my mind, anyway) to say about them. They tend to written well and follow the beats of the film or series faithfully. But after watching The Dragon Prince with my family and reading through Book 1: Moon, I found the novelization to bring enough new material to the table that I wanted to read and review the second installment. Warning: there be spoilers ahead.
The Dragon Prince, as a series, jumps around between a lot of different characters’ points of view. The main quartet (quintet if you count the glow toad Bait) consists of the two human princes, Ezren and Callum, a former elf assassin Rayla, and the titular dragon prince Zym, who was taken from his home as an egg. The group hopes to avert war if they can only get Zym home to his family in Xadia, the home of elves, dragons, and many more magical creatures.
Other points of view include Viren, the human high mage who seeks to fill the power gap left by the king’s recent death, his two adult children Soren and Claudia, and the princes’ aunt, General Amaya. The book did an excellent job of humanizing Viren, though at no point does it portray him as innocent or misunderstood. In the course of the story he attempts to get his son to murder the princes, steals the deceased king’s seal to call an unauthorized meeting of all the human royalty, and keeps Amaya’s sign language interpreter locked in a dungeon. He’s hardly a friendly man. But the narration decides to take the angle that Viren truly believes that everything he does is for the ultimate protection of humans against Xadian threats. And his sincerity makes him all the more dangerous.
Likewise, the book humanizes Soren a bit, too, highlighting his guilt and conflict over what his father has asked him to do. In watching the show, it took me a while to see Soren as anything other than the comic relief, and the book brings out the other aspects of his character much sooner. (It also adds the line, “I’m rebelling against the tyranny of the haiku!” which was just awesome.)
General Amaya also benefited quite a bit from the novelization. She spends much of season two in an ongoing battle of her troops against the elven forces. (The elven leader Janai is referred to in the book as the “Sunfire knight,” since she hasn’t been named yet.) But in the series, what exactly the humans and elves are fighting over is said in what’s almost a throwaway line during a disagreement between Amaya and one of her lieutenants. The narration in the novel gets into Amaya’s head and makes the stakes much more clear–the elves have discovered a previously hidden human outpost on their side of the border and they’re taking it over. If the humans can’t hold their ground, the elves have a perfect route into the human kingdoms. There’s also a few scenes that are actually part of season 3 that are instead incorporated into this book in order to bring a more satisfying close to Amaya’s plot arc.
A lot of the quick jumping to different points of view in the show allows the writers to gloss over some more unpleasant scenes or even skip them entirely. The novel doesn’t jump around nearly so much and the authors choose to write out some of those skipped scenes, including a moment when Claudia has to murder a baby deer in order to get the magical energy she needs to heal her brother. If reading this book with younger children, I could see parents wanting to skip over this part, depending on how sensitive the child is to violence against animals.
Overall, the book made for pleasant reading and helped round out the characters in some interesting and unique ways. Now we just need season four to come out. 🙂
Rating: 4 out of 5
You can find The Dragon Prince: Book Two on Goodreads
You can also buy Book Two: Sky (The Dragon Prince 2) (2) on Amazon. (Affiliate link)