Dragon Rider Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Dragon Rider

Firedrake travels with his creature friend Sorrel and new human friend Ben, they fight many obstacles to reach a safe haven for all dragons. Firedrake is a young dragon who lives in a valley outside of London with other dragons. After realizing that humans intend to flood the valley and the dragons living there are no longer safe, Firedrake sets off with the guidance from an elder to avoid the Golden One and to find the Rim of Heaven, a legendary location that is a safe haven for all dragons.
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Firedrake travel to London with his friend Sorrel, a forest brownie, to find Gilbert Graytail, a rat who specializes in making maps. Not long after landing at the docks of London, Firedrake saves orphan human Ben from dockworkers. Ben then provides Sorrel with human clothes so she may go find Gilbert while Firedrake stays hidden. After finding him and providing payment, Gilbert hands over a map leading to the Himalayas, marking dangerous areas along the way. Only able to fly at night, Firedrake wastes no time wanting to leave. He and Sorrel decide to bring Ben along with them. After Ben and Sorrel argue about turning East too soon or not, the three end up in a mountain range full of mountain dwarves. Firedrake sleeps while the sun is up and the dwarves wait for him to wake up. While he rests, one of the dwarves runs to the castle in that same mountain range, revealing Nettlebrand, the Golden One. Nettlebrand is a very large and dangerous monster that looks like a golden dragon. He is serviced by Twigleg, a manikin or homunculus, He is a very vile and cruel being that eats a lot of his servants when he is angry, most particularly ravens that he creates magically. After hearing from the dwarf of a silver dragon in his mountains, Nettlebrand sends Twigleg on a raven to find out if the dwarf was telling the truth. FIredrake wakes and Twigleg heads to the nearest source of water and contacts Nettlebrand by spitting into the water. After reporting back about the Rim of heaven which Ben unfortunately spilled to one of the dwarves with Twigleg listening, Nettlebrand reveals that he has been hunting the dragons that hid in it for centuries and orders Twigleg to follow Firedrake on a raven. THey headed south toward the Mediterranean before turning east. But after hitting a storm that drives them off course, forcing them to land, they find themselves in Egypt. They end up landing near an archeaologist camp. After trying to destroy any traces of their footprints, Sorrel gets kidnapped by the archaeologists. Ben ends up saving both Sorrel and Twigleg, who was captured as well. They return to Firedrake who was hidden in a cave. His presence woke up a Basilisk, a monstrous Cockerel. Firedrake is saved by Professor Greenbloom, who forces the Basilisk to look at its own reflection in a mirror. Everyone gets introduced and Professor Greenbloom tells them of his friend Zubeida, who is a Dragonologist in a village in Pakistan. He speaks as well of a Djinn with a thousand eyes that knows the answer to every question in the world. The only requirement was that the question must be asked in seven words and it must be asked by a human. He points out the location on there map. Twigleg reports yet again to Nettlebrand and then steals away in Ben's backpack once the three decide to head off. After finding the Djinn and having him reveal the location through images to Ben, Twigleg decides that he likes Ben and wants him to be his new master and lies to Nettlebrand, sending him to the middle of the desert, where it is revealed that he has the ability to move by water using them as portals almost. After flying from the Djinn, the group gets caught in the Dark moon which zaps Firedrake of all his ability to fly. They almost drown before landing on the back of a sea serpent. The sea serpent retells the tale that he and his brother witnessed, of the Golden One hunting dragons over their sea, the Golden One killing many.

Nettlebrand gets to the desert but realizes the deceit by Twigleg. He orders his new servant, the dwarf Gravelbeard, to tell Twigleg that he was destroyed by the sand. The grow arrives at the village and are greeted like heroes. Zubeida reveals that she has found an ancient flower called the moonflower that produces a liquid that works like moonlight, thus Firedrake can fly without moonlight. They are hunted by more ravens, who after they are hit with a rock covered in Sorrel's spit, turn back into crabs. Ben and the Professor along with his family travel with Firedrake and Sorrel up the river to a monastery in the mountains. Nettlebrand follows with Gravelbeard, trying to remain unseen. They meet two new friends. One is a cousin of Gilbert Graytail, Lola Graytail. And the other is a mountain brownie, one with four arms, Burr-Burr-Chan. Lola searches the skies from her plan for the valley Ben saw with the Djinn as well as keeping a look out for Nettlebrand after Gravelbeard is caught spying on them. They finally reach the Valley where the Rim of Heaven lies but Nettlebrand is right on their tails. Lola creates a distraction and Burr-Burr-Chan leads the others into the Rim. Only one dragon remains awake in the Rim as the others have merged with the rock for they feared the Golden One too much, they never went back outside. After catching Gravelbeard once more that convince him to join their side and formulate a plan of how to destroy Nettlebrand. After studying the golden scale given to Ben by the Professor, which turned out to be Nettlebrand's, Sorrel spit on it and Firedrake accidentally breathed dragon fire on it, it melted. Thus the plan was made that Sorrel would spit into Gravelbeard's cleaning bucket and Gravelbeard would clean Nettlebrand's armor with it before leading him into the Rim. Once inside Firedrake and the new dragon, Maia breathe dragon fire on him, he melts to a golden puddled and is turned back into the toad his master used to create him in the first place.

Gravelbeard remains with Burr-Burr-Chan, and Maia as he works to remove the other dragons from the rocks. Firedrake and Sorrel return to their home to convince the others to follow to the Rim of Heaven. Ben and Twigleg become full members of Professor Greenbloom's family and learn that Firedrake did get the others to leave their home and head to the safe haven of the Rim of Heaven.
Best part of story, including ending: This is a very good fairytale that provides some of the darker moments truer to classic fairytales while remaining very upbeat.

Best scene in story: I love the pure fantasy of the scene where they realize how to destroy Nettlebrand; by melting him with Brownie spit and Dragon fire.

Opinion about the main character: Firedrake is very mature for supposing to be a young dragon. He has an even temperament throughout the story but has his moments where he either shows the stubbornness of a young being or the fierce protective nature of an adult. He is a very likable character and the readers find themselves rooting for him in all situations from start to finish.

The review of this Book prepared by Meghan Harris a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Dragon Rider

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   very upbeat FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy world/fantasy past Adversaries are…    -   dragons (hostile) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Kid's book (ages 7-14) GIANT monster(s)    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   can fly


Earth setting:    -   current (early 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Cornelia Funke Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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