DragonsdaleTitle: Dragonsdale
Author: Salamanda Drake
Narrator: Jill Shilling
ISBN: 9780739348864
Discs: 5 CDs / 5 hours 50 minutes
Pages: 271 pages
Publisher: Listening Library, c2007.

Drane was still scratching. “I think she likes me. She’s purring.”
“She’s doing what?”
Cara shook her head. “Dragons don’t purr . . . uh-oh.” She eckoned to Drane. “I think you’d better come out of there.”
“Why?” Drane’s voice was dreamy. “She’s enjoying it. Look she’s smiling.”
“Drane, I think it would be a really good idea if you came out of there right now.”
[. . . ] The dragon gave a gigantic belch. A searing tongue of flame shot from her mouth across the stall and roared toward the open doorway, straight for Drane’s unprotected head. (13)

Cara loves her life at Dragonsdale, even if it does involve mucking out dragon dung and washing the stuck up Hortense’s dragon for her. That’s because she can spend her free time with Skydancer, an “untrainable” dragon that Cara loves like her very own. However, due to her mother’s death by falling off a dragon, Cara is forbidden to ride Skydancer, or anyother dragon. Cara is content to stay on the ground, until Skydancer’s future at the Dragonsdale riding school is threatened. Will she take to the air to save Skydancer, even against her father’s wishes? Written at the age of 16, Dragonsdale by Salamanda Drake is the exciting beginning to a brand new series about dragons.

I can’t review the book without commenting first on the book cover, which I almost missed because I listened to it as an audiobook. The cover is GORGEOUS, with a cut-out two layered effect that overlays the dragon’s head with Kara’s. The eye-catching cover just doesn’t translate for the audiobook cover. The illustrations by Gilly Marklew are equally appealing, with an interesting and ever-changing use of white space and margins. The storyline and characters are predictable at times, but the dragon scenes are engaging and entertaining. There apparently is a sequel, with possibly two more on the way to be translated. The cover of the second looks much different, and I’m hopeful the plot isn’t as cliche as the first. However, it’s a good read, and a sure win with children looking for more dragon stories.