The mythsterhood loves exploring all forms of mythology: literature, art, games, even song. What brought us together was the love of a good myth. So in addition to our own dragon content, we wanted to pass on some modern myths to our listeners. In our Dragon Tails blog series, you’ll find reviews of stories collected from a variety of media.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Audible has made many of its children titles available for free. My six-year-old has been devouring the Audible originals, loving the multi-reader casting and fast pacing of their middle grade selection.
The other day, I stumbled along a book called Dragon Planet by Dan Wells. It is narrated primarily by Emily Woo Zeller, supported by a full cast. Of course I had to check it out, since it had “dragon” in its title. It is the second in a series (The first called Zero G). We plan to go back and listen to that one, but not having listened to it first did not impact the quality of Dragon Planet.
For a piece named Dragon Planet, the actual story has very few dragons. However, a large dragon is integral to the plot, so I’ll give that a pass.
The story itself is entertaining. It involves Zero, a boy who wants to be a scientist, and Nyx, a girl who was a pirate until she switched sides and joined a colonizing spaceship. The colony ship lands on a new planet and begin setting up the colony when a dragon swoops off with a drill tank, making the adults realize that one of their drills had never been loaded onto the transport ship. Two drills down, the adults wonder how the colony will survive the harsh planet.
The kids, however, are more skeptical than the adults. Nyx’s piratey-past makes her suspect the drill was loaded and stolen once the colony ship landed. The kids go in search of the drill and get themselves in several sticky situations, which they use science and logic to get themselves out of.
Overall, I liked the messages of friendship and independence as well as the value placed on science in this book. My son enjoyed the funny creatures, the fast pace, and the dragon.
The cool thing about dragon books set in space is that we get significantly different dragons than the ones from Earth mythology. In that, Dragon Planet doesn’t disappoint. The first glimpse of the dragon is from afar and during a windstorm, so the readers can only glimpse a vague flying shape with the outline of a dragon. This works extremely well for the story because the reader (listener) is able to keep the form of a classic, European dragon in their mind.
As the story progresses, more of the wildlife on the planet is explored. So when the true form of the dragon is revealed at the end, it makes sense to the reader.
About this true form? Shapewise, it is a classic European dragon with a saurian body and wings. However, the skin is smooth instead of scaled and bright purple. The claws and teeth are orange crystal. The book sets it up so that the dragon may actually be related to the large flowers on the planet. That’s pretty cool.
Being science fiction, heavily focused on science, the book doesn’t dig into dragon lore the way I like. It relies on the reader’s imagination of dragon mythology to fill in the gaps around this large, winged creature.
In general, I would recommend giving this book a listen if you have young readers at home. Audible puts it in the early middle grade range of 8-10 years old, but as I already said, my six year old was able to enjoy it even if he didn’t fully understand all of the science in it. Check it out on Audible while they still have their free access and let me know what your young ones thought. (Click the “listen for free” at the top of the page as opposed to the purchase button.)
Koji A. Dae
Koji is a dreamer, a mother, and a writer in that order. The first short story she clearly remembers writing involved fairies losing their wings, and ever since then mythology has found different ways to creep into her storytelling.