________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2010


A Hero's Worth. (Dragon Speaker Series, #2).

D. M. Ouellet.
Toronto, ON: High Interest Publishing/HIP Books, 2009.
110 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-897039-47-2.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Katie Edwards.

** /4


The plunge from the cliff almost made Jacob lose his breakfast. Still, he held fast to the harness. Draco dipped and soared. He dove like a hawk toward the earth. For a moment, Jacob thought he would fall off. His knuckles were white from gripping the reins too tight. Slow down! He begged.


In the second book of the series, Draco, the baby dragon, is growing up very quickly. Jacon, Orson, Lia and Aldous are hiding out in the forest, waiting for the right time to attack Kain and Manning.

internal art

     A Hero's Worth suffers a mild case of middle-book syndrome: how do you fill a novel with people waiting for a final battle? Ouellet keeps up the breakneck pacing by putting Lia at risk, detouring from the main plot line.

     Lia, as it turns out, is an elf. When her father, Cyrek, discovers their small band in the woods, he decides to send Lia to Lord Manning as a bride. His reasoning is that Lia deserves someone with a title: "Did you really think I'd accept anything less than a lord for my only daughter?" But when Lia protests that Manning kills people, her father replies, "I wouldn't waste my spit on a human.. Let them kill each other off for all I care. Just so long as our people are kept out of it." The inconsistency here is jarring: Cyrek hates humans but wants his daughter to marry one. He doesn't want to be involved in their disputes, but he does want his daughter tied to the leader of the dispute.

     Nevertheless, Lia is shipped off to the castle. Jacob and Orson eventually attempt a rescue, an action which results in another battle with Kain. Draco nearly dies, and Jacob seems hopelessly out-matched.

     If nothing else, A Hero's Worth raises the level of tension for the final book. After his near-disastrous fight with Kain, it seems impossible for Jacob to win.

     Although this volume is written by a new author, the tone and story remain very consistent. The unnamed illustrator unfortunately does not change, so the pictures suffer from the same shortcomings as those in The Last Dragon.


Katie Edwards is the Cybrarian (Teen Services) for Calgary Public Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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