February 20, 2023

REVIEW New Dragon City by Mari Mancusi

New Dragon City by Mari Mancusi
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: October 4, 2022
Format: Hardcover (Personal Library) + Audiobook (Borrowed from Library)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

In Mari Mancusi’s New Dragon City, New York City has turned into a post-apocalyptic world where dragons rule the sky and humans fight for survival on the ground below. Noah and his father are part of a group of humans who stay alive by hiding underground during the dragon’s most active times and head to the surface when the dragons are hibernating. Noah thinks this will be how life is for the foreseeable future, but one chance encounter with a young dragon changes things forever.

Post apocalyptic novels are fairly common nowadays, with many books featuring some element of that genre. The most common reasons for the destruction of society are things like aliens, disease, mythological figures (think the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) and extreme climate change. Dragons, however, are a new concept as far as the apocalypse goes so that added an element of originality and novelty to the book. 

The story is told from Noah and Asha’s points of view and I thought it was really interesting how the author paralleled the situations of the dragons and the humans. Both humans and dragons are just trying to survive in the world, and do the best they can with the situation they have been given. A big question comes up of who is the actual monster in the situation - dragons see the humans as monsters, and vice versa. Noah and Asha are both young with big decisions on their shoulders so the slower moments in the book where they just got to be kids were nice to see as a reader. I In listening to the audiobook, Soneela Nankani and Alex Boyles did a great job bringing Asha and Noah’s perspectives to life with their performances in the narration. 

New Dragon City has adventure, fast-paced action, and is a story centered around family, friends, and how a better future for all should be everyone’s goal. The author even peppers in some easter eggs giving nods to other stories with dragons in it. In conclusion, it’s an excellent choice for middle-grade fantasy readers, and it’s definitely in the same vein as How to Train Your Dragon or Wings of Fire. As far as I can tell at the time of reading the book, it’s set as a standalone but I wouldn’t say no to more books set in this world in the future. 

About the Book

Set off on a high-stakes, action-packed adventure in this story about friendship, survival, and fighting for ones you love, perfect for fans of Wings of Fire and How to Train Your Dragon

No one predicted the dragon apocalypse. The dragons came suddenly and decimated the world as we knew it, including New York City. Now, three years later, Noah, his hardcore survivalist father, and a ragtag group of survivors are barely scraping by in this new reality. Kids scavenge not only for materials in abandoned homes but also for leftover books at the library. Adults spend their time establishing a make-shift society and defending their shelter... with any means available. At least for the few months the dragons are hibernating, until it’s no longer safe aboveground.

Noah has seen the damage these creatures can do firsthand. When it comes to dragons: It's kill or be killed. But a chance encounter between Noah and a young dragon causes him to question everything he thought he knew. With rumors spreading that there’s a group of survivors living in harmony with dragons instead of hiding underground, Noah teams up with his fire-breathing ally to find out if peace between humans and dragons is really possible. But the division runs deeper than scales versus skin because trying to follow his heart might just cost Noah his family too. If Noah and his father can’t see eye to eye, can he really get humans and dragons to? 

About the Author

Mari Mancusi grew up where the north wind meets the sea (otherwise known as Massachusetts), but has since made her home in the great state of Texas, mostly due to her love of summer. (And tacos.) A former Emmy Award winning TV news producer, today she is the author of more than two-dozen books for kids, teens, and adults, mostly of the sci-fi/fantasy variety. In addition to writing, Mari loves traveling, video games, and cosplaying. She is also Mom to an eight year old Frozen superfan who, when recently asked by her teacher to describe her hero answered: “My Mom!” (Okay, fine, she said Kristin Bell.)

You can find Mari online at www.marimancusi.com

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