158 pages
ISBN 0-00-648065-9
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


Containing all the requisite literary ingredients of high fantasy, but
lacking its usual protracted length, Dragonfire would serve as an
excellent introduction to the genre for readers in Grades 4 to 8.

Saved at birth by his Protector and spirited to the temporary safety of
another world, Dahl, now almost 17 and the rightful King of Taun, is
brought back to his land to wrest control, seemingly single-handedly,
from the evil Usurper who has reduced Taun’s people to slaves. Dahl, a
most reluctant and doubt-filled hero, is joined on his quest by Catryn
Ethelrue, a young woman from his time of exile, who accidentally gets
“carried” into Taun. As required by the genre, Dahl receives
assistance from a variety of “magical” figures, including the
aforementioned Protector, a shape-shifter; the trio of Elders, who equip
Dahl with his father’s sword; a horse, Dragonfire, that sprouts wings
and helps him defeat a fire-breathing dragon; and the Sele, short,
humanoid creatures who serves as Dahl’s guides.

High fantasy demands that the hero confront evil in a climactic,
winner-take-all battle. Bradford provides the necessary conflict, but
with a surprise twist that will leave readers eager to discuss the theme
of Dragonfire. Though the various plot threads are tied up at the
book’s conclusion, the uncertain futures of the central characters
hint at a possible sequel. Recommended.


Bradford, Karleen., “Dragonfire,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19045.