Cover Image: New Dragon City

New Dragon City

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Member Reviews


There are two reasons that I was always going to read this book: one, DRAGONS (duh!) and, two, I really enjoyed the author’s previous middle grade dragon book, Dragon Ops, and was fully sold on reading another dragon book from her. So obviously I was excited when this one was announced! Plus, I absolutely love apocalypses, and honestly, I know it’s supposed to be a scary thing, but I 100% support the dragon apocalypse. Not all of us will survive, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

New Dragon City is a middle grade dystopian book featuring the most unique apocalypse of all: the dragon apocalypse! It’s filled with family bonds, coming of age, heartwarming realizations, and, best of all, DRAGONS.

This book was every bit what I had expected, and that’s a good thing! As I said, I enjoyed the last several books of Mancusi’s that I’ve read. While I think the overall plot is somewhat predictable (you can pretty much surmise it from the blurb), the execution is really enjoyable, and the danger and tension had me hooked and turning pages. Plus, I’m such a big baby that the emotional ending really hit me in the heart!

My Thoughts

- Welcome to the endtimes. While poets were arguing about whether the world would end by fire or by ice, the dragons swooped in and answered that question pretty decisively. Hint: fire. Definitely fire. Mancusi establishes a world that’s been at least partially burnt to the ground, abandoned, and left to fend for itself, as humans scrabble to find whatever few safe spaces they can. Dystopia isn’t hugely prevalent in middle grade (unfortunately), so I’m always excited when I find some. Especially ones that include dragons. I mean, the dragon apocalypse is pretty unique. The main character, Noah, lives with a group of survivors that live underground while the dragons reign above, only coming out during the winter when the dragons are in hibernation. It’s not a particularly inspiring life, but it is a life. Until the dragons wake up early from hibernation. While the focus of this book isn’t really on the dystopian element, there are some bits and snatches of how this group survives that’ll likely interest dystopian fans. The way they need to find a way to scavenge supplies, make do with what they have, and many times get creative about how they use things. It’s a really interesting backdrop for a story.

- Mancusi establishes a very tense atmosphere, focused on struggle and survival, with unconceivable beasts roaming free and threatening humanity. In my nightmares, this always takes the form of dinosaurs, but you know what? Dragons works too. As much as I love dragons, Mancusi has convinced me of this with some of the more tense scenes, dripping with the characters’ stifling, overwhelming fears. I don’t think I’d enjoy being hunted by a dragon any more than a dinosaur, now that I think about it. As much as I love dragons, Mancusi really sells the terror of having to scrape and scavenge and fear for your life around these giant creatures that can easily roast you if you cross them. The idea alone is rather terrifying. It’s easy to understand Noah’s fear and tension when it comes to dragons. Or his father’s desire to slay these monsters that are hunting them. Buuuut . . . is that really the whole story, hmmm?

- New Dragon City is told from two very different, yet very similar perspectives: one a boy, one a dragon, but both just struggling for their families to survive. Because nothing is as simple as it seems, right? Noah is the main human protagonist, and it’s rather easy to identify with this tiny, squishy human whose world has been turned upside down with the arrival of these giant fire-breathing beasts that have ruined humanity. But from the second perspective, one of a young dragon, it becomes a little harder to tell exactly who the real monsters are. Because humans aren’t exactly innocent in this whole situation. (And when are we ever?!) This idea that both groups and neither group can simultaneously be monsters is one I really enjoyed throughout this book. Anyone can be a monster, regardless of their species. Sometimes the monsters are hiding in plain sight, even, hiding their real intentions. It’s such a compelling narrative, one I thoroughly enjoyed. What Mancusi does particularly well in regards to this is the parallels between Noah and his dragon counterpart. They’re so similar, including their situations, that it’s hard not to feel for both of them. And it’s hard not to be convinced that they’re both right, even if they have contradicting opinions. It definitely gives middle grade readers a lot to think about.

- There’s an underlying commentary about the dangers of “othering” groups that may be different, and a narrative of empathy and understanding. As far as lessons go, this is such an important one, especially given the current atmosphere (in this country, at least). Removing it from the real world and establishing it in a fantasy setting only makes the wrongness of it more poignant. What Mancusi does so well in this book is to establish this narrative of monsters in the sky and mindless beasts before walloping the reader with the truth, one the reader likely hadn’t considered: that dragons, in fact, have their own feelings and social structures and struggles. Struggles that sound and feel all too familiar, because they’re the same things the humans are going through. It’s such a powerful realization, and such a crucial empathy-building element.
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We know about zombie apocalypses and the end of the world. But what about dangerous dragons? Yes, not a single soul thought about this scenario, and yet there has been a dragon apocalypse in “New Dragon City”. Noah and his family survived the beginning of the apocalypse and are now in hiding with another group of survivors in New York. Noah is intrigued about the true nature of dragons and happens to meet a young and somewhat friendly dragon. This encounter makes the young boy question everything he was, taught….

I found this book to be really well executed. The writing style was great and don’t make me talk about the world building because that one was amazing. And I might be biased because I love dragons (sadly they don’t exist) but this book kept its promise about all sorts of dragons. “New Dragon City” is definitely a unique read in its genre, and it is refreshing to see a new perspective on a world/city after an apocalypse.

If you want an unputdownable middle grade fantasy about dragons and loved books like “How to train your dragon”, then “New Dragon City” has to be on your TBR.
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I absolutely loved this book!  You can't go wrong with dragons.  Noah has spent a significant amount of his life fearing dragons.  When he happens across a baby dragon one day that doesn't try to kill him, he's shocked.  Asha, the baby dragon is a princess and trained to hate humans.  However, they end up forming a bond.  Can their world of mutual hate ever change?

Noah & Asha are awesome characters.  I enjoyed watching them interact and grow before my eyes.  The story was a great lesson learned.  The world cannot be a better place if no one is willing to change.  I believe this book will appeal to people of all ages.  One of my favorites this year so far!
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I loved this book! Exciting, adventurous, heartwarming. The author did a beautiful job paralleling the humans thoughts and the dragons, making both relatable and understandable. I both loved and was horrified by the descriptions of the future "end of the times" world the story took place in. I highly recommend this book to any fantasy lovers! Who doesn't love a good dragon story!?
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No one really expected a dragon apocalypse. Wars, famine, deadly diseases, and zombies have all been covered, but dragons aren't really considered. You'd be called mad.

So when fire-breathing dragons rise up out of nowhere, no one is prepared. Of course, people like Noah's dad, a survivalist (or doomsday prepper), have something prepared and help their families get by. When they come out of their bunker, they're able to team up with a larger group which makes things easier.

But what happens when some people think that they want to try and work with dragons? Is it a cult, or can something really come of this?

As Noah and his dad decide to not go down for the winter season, Noah finally meets a dragon who doesn't kill him on sight. Our story unfolds as they begin to become friends in a world that seems determined to prove that violence is the only answer.

Long story short, New Dragon City is perfect for readers obsessed with How to Train Your Dragon! It's a charming book, excellent for the middle-grade category, that introduces some complex topics. It will lead to interesting conversations between parents and their children.

I feel like New Dragon City is a modern-day version of How to Train Your Dragon. I don't want to say too much, because that would spoil everything, but really a modern version of it! However, Mari Mancusi keeps things going in a way where the book goes down really quickly (even though it is over 300 pages), so you don't stick around and dwell on those similarities. But these similarities, when you really think about them, make you feel like someone like this author, who has written over 30 books for children, could have come up with something that didn't parallel HTTYD so much.
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"New Dragon City" is one of the most unique and imaginative post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories I've read. While destruction by war, zombies, pestilence, and extreme climate change have all been done to death, an infestation of dragons feels like a fresh take on this theme.

I enjoyed immensely that the story is told from two points of view, that of the boy Noah and Asha, the young dragon. The parallels in their situations made the story much more interesting, entertaining, and emotion-filled. Both are still so young and are thrust into situations that would be tough on those older and more experienced. Noah is being tugged in different directions by his disagreeing parents. Asha, as the daughter of the dragon herd's queen, has restrictions on her actions and a heavy burden of responsibility for the herd. I liked that during their brief encounters with one another that they could eventually relax and relate and just be "kids."

The ruins of New York City are described in compelling detail, with familiar sights and locations sprinkled throughout. I had a clear picture of where everyone was and what it looked like. Unlike other books in this genre, I liked how organized these survivors had gotten and how well they seemed to get along and help each other. The survivors Noah meets away from the safety of the organized groups were scary and surprisingly creepy to me. I can't get that couple he encountered in the restaurant out of my mind.

Young readers will easily relate to the two very likable main characters. Their budding friendship and ability to get along despite the years of terror of the other's species will delight. They will soon be rooting for Noah and Asha to overcome their friends' and families' objections and anxieties. 

I recommend NEW DRAGON CITY to middle-grade readers that enjoy novels with fantasy elements such as dragons and won't be disturbed by the post-apocalyptic setting, dragons hunting and trying to eat people, or people hunting and killing dragons.
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I thought this was a fun middle grade read. I have really loved the previous books by this author. I also loved this book had so many elements that was pulled from the recent years even thought this book was middle grade fantsay it has elements that young kids could follow like a pandamic like event, fake news and immiagation elements. It was quick read. I just did not feel super conneccted to the characters and that was the only downside. I also really enjoyed the new york city setting and loved one of the POV was a dragon!! A very quick read!!
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