Synopsis: After being orphaned, Creel is left outside a cave to either be eaten by the dweller within or rescued by royalty. Instead, she ends up striking a bargain with a dragon and leaves for the King’s Seat with a pair of blue slippers. But what Creel doesn’t know is how special those shoes are, and what they can do when they fall into the wrong hands…
Author: Jessica Day George was always interested in becoming a writer, but had to be practical. She went to university for a BA (but chose a major where she got to read a lot of books), and got a “real job” until she became a published author. She is now married with three children, and spends her spare time learning new languages, playing the piano, and knitting.
Product: If you check out Jessica Day George’s website she has some interesting links regarding the book including why she wrote the novel, how to pronounce the characters’ names, a drawing of Creel’s ball gown, and more.
Cover: The artwork of the paperback edition is deceptively simple; it isn’t particularly intricate, but still manages to catch one’s eye. With a yellow background and a pseudo-border of sewing accouterments, the squiggly title and the dangling pair of shiny shoes takes centre stage.
Note to Reader: When this novel was first released as a hardcover in North America it was under the title of “Dragon Slippers” with detailed artwork by Peter Ferguson that appears more gender neutral. However, a few months later the UK released it as a paperback with the original working title of “Dragonskin Slippers” with imagery geared towards girls. One of the US paperback editions is my favourite, depicting a girl facing a dragon with the background appearing as though a stained glass window.
Hook: Instead of Creel being the usual damsel in distress finding happily ever after with the knight who rescues her from the evil dragon, instead she saves herself… and everyone else.
Character: Creel is by no means a delicate maiden, but rather an independent girl with as many flaws as anyone else. While she is intelligent and courageous with a good heart, she is also prone to a bit of violence when she feels wronged. All the slapping and hair yanking makes Creel a little less likeable, but it doesn’t feel out of place for her to have such a tendency. In fact, it leads nicely into the finale where Creel essentially leads an epic battle.
Romance: While Creel meets plenty of princes, knights, and dragons she ends up meeting a second son who helps her whenever she most needs it. While there is an immediate attraction, there is also a camaraderie building into friendship that is the basis of their relationship.
Theme: If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s the cliché “don’t just a book by its cover.” There are many characters in this book that are presumed to be one thing—a man-eating dragon, a dumb commoner, a perfect princess—but turn out to be more than meets the eye… a friend, a hero, a spy.
Quote: “But the truth is, I would feel like a failure if I gave up now and went with you. I’m going to do it!”
The Verdict: While I enjoyed this book I wouldn’t readily endorse for an adult, as it’s a bit too simplistic (though I fully intend to read the other two novels in the trilogy myself). The skill level of this book is definitely meant for children, yet the plot is interesting enough to draw in the more mature reader. I would highly recommend it for the younger set, and believe it to be the perfect novel for reading with your child.