DRAGONS OF FROST AND FIRE by Susan Brown / Create Space Publishing / June 2015
Blurb: “I know she’s still alive!” A year ago her mother disappeared in an Alaskan blizzard, but Kit Soriano refuses to give up. Against all logic, propelled by recurring dreams of ice-white dragons and a magical silver knife, Kit journeys to the wilderness town of Silver Claw where her mother vanished. She’s clearly not welcome, but her knife throbs with heat and her dreams show the impossible – mythical dragons are guarding her sleeping mother. Desperate, Kit has no choice but to rely on Dai, who knows more than he says about the wild magic rippling beneath the surface of the town. She wants to trust him. But is he her friend or an enemy? If she’s wrong, will she too be lost forever in the unforgiving Alaskan wilderness?
Review: In this YA fantasy, sixteen-year-old Kit Soriano travels with her father to a small town in Alaska to discover what happened to her mother. Even though everyone around Kit insists that Dr. Nora Soriano noted for her studies in genetics must be dead, killed in a harsh winter storm, Kit knows better. Haunted by dreams and inspired by a family heirloom, a dragon-shaped knife, she plans to find her missing mother regardless of any roadblocks. She hasn’t counted on fighting the entire town of Silver Claw, Alaska, much less her own father who thinks she needs closure, not answers. Kit sets out to solve the mystery beginning in the town library where the elderly librarian thwarts all of Kit’s research attempts. She also must deal with Dai, a “hot” guy who acts as a local guide, but she thinks of him more as a local spy. She must avoid him in order to determine what happened to her mother, however he is so…..cute!
This is a well-plotted story with carefully crafted characters. A discerning reader may catch onto all the clues provided, but it is much more fun to journey along with Kit and allow her to share the conclusions she draws. Her arguments with Dai and the other teens are realistic, but it would be nice to learn more about what happens to some of the supporting cast. What happens to Kirsti? The clues are carefully put in place, but we need to know if she achieves what she most desires.
The setting showcases the story too, effectively describing the solitude of native Alaska. More sensory details would have added depth but Ms. Brown has a deft touch with sounds as well as sights in this short (147 page) novel. One can really hear the ice falling off the glaciers near Silver Claw. The point of view remains with Kit, but would have been stronger with Dai’s input. Still, Ms. Brown, a skilled writer who honed her craft writing for Scholastic has penned an intriguing story that will enthrall readers. She leaves the story open for a sequel or even a series where we can discover and share more of Kit’s adventures, hopefully with Dai. Meanwhile, I’m off to find another of her “Dragon” tales.