Cover Image: Bradley's Dragons

Bradley's Dragons

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Member Reviews

Set in a Florida trailer park, this AMAZING and fast-paced middle-grade fantasy coming-of-age adventure follows Bradley Nash, a young boy who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, especially around strangers. He doesn't have memories of it, but the main reason is that he was attacked by an unknown man named Max when he was only nine years old. That was three years ago, and he barely escaped.

When his parents tell him their family secret, just before his twelfth birthday, he can’t believe it. But that doesn’t matter. His world has already changed forever, and he needs to spend some time reading his parent’s gift: a handwritten wooden book, titled Mastering the Gallu Draig. Unfortunately, it only has half-baked life advice, or so Bradley thinks. 

I couldn’t help but root for Bradley, as he learned more about what it means to be a Nash, what's most important to him, and how to overcome his inner fears and even outer threats. Following him on a mysterious and very magical quest was exciting, particularly because Bradley is really anxious and has to overcome it in order to help those around him. 

When I was a kid, I was the total opposite of Bradley: my mum told me I was always smiling at strangers, and I loved to talk with everyone. But I know what anxiety looks and feels like. And I also have my share of panic attacks. Watching Bradly learn to cope with it made me smile a lot, especially because he’s a splendid boy and deserves everything good in the world.

Besides Bradley, I also loved to know more about his parent’s stories and family secrets. And I think the author did a superb job portraying the relationship between parents and children; and how, at a certain point in their growth, children question the image they have of their parents and the lessons they have been taught, and how similar or different they would like to become. 

Though the writing style is not brilliant, I think the author is incredible at storytelling, and I love how he gives us clues about the big picture without failing to surprise us. Between Bradley’s coming-of-age story, an unexpected enemy and many secret agendas, readers don’t have the time nor the will to put the book down.
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Patrick Matthews writes a wonderful story that shares the adventures of a family of dragons. The process of a young dragon egg hatches into a dragon.
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What worked:
Bradley has a “condition” that makes him deathly afraid of all strangers. He can’t look them in the eye, let alone speak to them. There’s no explanation offering a reason, and his parents accept it as something he needs to deal with. His parents reveal that he’s an Egg, and he’ll be able to become a dragon once he’s able to control the gallu draig power inside him. It’s quite a contrast to envision a terrifying dragon that’s afraid of strangers. 
The author skillfully builds anticipation and suspense with Bradley’s character. The first pages of the book share a time when he’s attacked by a hunter, although he’s forgotten about the incident. However, these pages demonstrate the danger of hunters toward dragons, so readers immediately start preparing for the next attack. The author does not relieve the expectations for quite a while. Then, Bradley discovers he’s an Egg, and he’s vulnerable to the hunters until he transforms into a dragon. He desperately tries to initiate the transformation, since it’s the only way he can truly be protected. He’s given a book to help him understand the process, but it usually provides cryptic messages that he doesn’t understand. Bradley begins showing a variety of abilities that make predicting his type of dragon difficult. If the book is like many other middle-grade books, his character will become a rare, super-amazing dragon. Readers will get to interpret the same clues as Bradley and imagine what will eventually happen to Bradley, and when. 
The conflict of hunters stalking dragon Eggs is straightforward, but the author includes many complications and subtle clues to keep things interesting. The hunters usually look like humans, but an unexpected enemy appears that makes things immensely more difficult. Bradley’s dad is a powerful swamp dragon, while his mom is a sky dragon with impressive mind-control and illusions. However, the extended dragon family has issues, and they may not have a defense against the hunters’ new strategy. A couple of characters are keeping secrets about their feelings or past, so readers are left wondering if they’ll lead to unexpected trouble. Most dragons view humans as inferior species, so their relationship is uncertain. Bradley thinks his mother’s mind control is wrong, and he has simmering anger that she erased one of his memories. Internal conflicts about his mother, hunters, and transforming abound.
What didn’t work as well:
Bradley provides a clue early in the story that unnecessarily gets repeated several times. He asks if humans ever work with hunters when searching for dragons. The response is that it’s unlikely, but not impossible. Once the question has been asked and answered, asking the same question again becomes redundant. The first question plants the idea in readers’ minds since the whole book is about hunters hoping to capture and kill dragon Eggs. Additional questions about humans helping hunters start to get annoying. The underlying secrets being held by some characters help to make up for any annoyance.
The final verdict:
The perilous birth of a dragon. Following the process of a human becoming a dragon, while being targeted by hunters, creates an exciting adventure. The highlight of the book is the anticipation of when Bradley will transform and what type of dragon he’ll become. The whole conflict with the hunters is dependent on Bradley’s ability to change. Overall, this book is highly recommended and will appeal to lovers of dragons.
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So much fun!!!!!! I didn’t expect to be over the moon as I was reading this but I absolutely was. Of course, it’s something I think everyone of all ages would enjoy even though it’s clearly targeted for a specific audience.
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It's a very intelligent fantasy. For teen-agers it's so beautiful. And also for people who aren't teen-agers.
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Thank you to the publisher for accepting me to read and give feedback on this book, thank you to netgalley for allowing me to read and supply feedback and finally thank you to the author for creating a lovely masterpiece for me to read. 

i liked this book I thought It was overall great there was some areas i was a little bored and some i was really excited for but besides the pacing issue i think this is a really good book overall and would recommend to others.
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