Dragon Rider

by Cornelia Funke

Other authorsAnthea Bell (Translator)
Hardcover, 2004

Call number

JF FUN

Collection

Genres

Publication

Chicken House (2004), Edition: Deluxe, 528 pages

Description

After learning that humans are headed toward his hidden home, Firedrake, a silver dragon, is joined by a brownie and an orphan boy in a quest to find the legendary valley known as the Rim of Heaven, encountering friendly and unfriendly creatures along the way, and struggling to evade the relentless pursuit of an old enemy.

User reviews

LibraryThing member fyrefly98
Summary: Dragons have always tried to stay out of the way of humans, so when a construction team threatens to invade their mountainous highland hideout, they must find another place to live. A young silver dragon named Firedrake volunteers to go search for the Rim of Heaven, a fabled valley far to the east - supposedly home to another group of refugee dragons, and so isolated that no humans will ever be able to find it. He's accompanied by Sorrell, a brownie with a sharp attitude and an insatiable craving for mushrooms, and it's not long into their travels before they pick up Ben, a young human orphan who helps them out of a tight spot. But that's not all they've picked up: they've also attracted the attention of Nettlebrand, a giant golden dragon whose sole purpose in life is to hunt and kill other dragons... and now they're unwittingly leading him to the one place they thought they could be safe.

Review: This is one of those case where I don't think I would have enjoyed this book in book form nearly as much as I did in audiobook form. Not that it's not good: it's a fun little fantasy adventure geared towards mid-grade to pre-teen kids, and the interesting complexity of the world meant that it held my attention a lot better than many other mid-grade fantasy novels have. Although it certainly could have been tightened up a bit in places (500+ pages is a long book for this reading level), it never felt particularly draggy, and although there were elements that would have been more interesting if they were left a little bit more morally ambiguous, I can let that go as writing for a younger audience.

However, what really made this book a stand-out for me was the audiobook narration. Brendan Fraser does such an incredible job with the voice-acting that it makes me sad that he hasn't narrated more audiobooks (this and Funke's Inkspell are the only two I can find). He doesn't have a "typical" reader's style or cadence, but he reads into the microphone exactly as if he were reading a bedtime story to his own kids - complete with acted-out sneezes, whispers, grumbling noises, a huge range of consistently well-done accents, even bird noises and other not-strictly-textual sounds. If you'd ask me a priori if I wanted my audiobook narrator making spitting noises and raven squawks into my ear, I would have said absolutely not - ordinarily that kind of thing comes off as over-produced and totally obnoxious. But somehow Brendan Fraser makes it work, and the effect is more charming than annoying, and if it did its job pulling me into the story, I can only imagine how well it would work on kids closer to the intended age range. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: As a book, it would be good for mid-grade fantasy fans, or adults who want a light, well-told fantasy adventure. As an audiobook, it would be perfect for a long car trip with the whole family, or just for grown-ups who miss having someone read them bedtime stories.
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LibraryThing member PhoenixTerran
When it is discovered that humans are about to destroy the last of the dragons' safe-havens, a young silver dragon named Firedrake and his constant brownie companion Sorrel, leave the secret valley in search of the "Rim of Heaven," a mythical mountain range in the Himalayas and the legendary homeland of the dragons. During their journey they meet a parentless young human, Ben, in an abandoned building in a big city while looking for the renowned cartographer Gilbert Graytail to aid them in their search.

Ben joins Firedrake and Sorrel in a grand adventure as they travel the world to find the Rim of Heaven. Unfortunately, they aren't the only ones interested in finding the dragon homeland. They are pursued by the minions of Nettlebrand, who only seeks to kill all other dragons. In a race for time, Firedrake, Ben, and Sorrel find friendship and danger at every turn.

Dragon Rider is a wonderful, original fantasy novel for younger readers, although older ones will appreciate it as well.

Experiments in Reading
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LibraryThing member corrylloyd
“Dragon Rider” by Cornelia Funke. Cornelia Funke creates a story of dragons and mystical creatures living in the modern world keeping their existence hidden from all humans until now.

Firedrake is a young male dragon who lives high up in the mountains with many other dragons. The dragons have always hidden their existence from humans. The danger draws near and humans are on their way to the area where the dragons live. The dragons need to decide whether to stay and hide from the humans or find a new home. One of the oldest dragons suggests that the safest place to hide from humans would be the Rim of Heaven. The highest mountain range in the world has been talked about for generations. The problem with this is that no one really knows where to find the Rim of Heaven or if it truly exists. No other dragon has the courage to leave and try to find this mountain range, except for young firedrake. So it is decided, true or not Firedrake and his friend sorrel a brownie creature will venture out in hopes of finding the mountain called the Rim of Heaven. Firedrake and Sorrel will travels by the light of the moon. Along the way they make new friends, humans and interesting creatures. All of which are very helpful in this adventure to find the Rim of Heaven. Now the team of three, Firedrake, sorrel, and a young boy named Ben realize they are being followed by the dangerous golden dragon. The golden dragon has only one agenda and that is to destroy all dragons. Firedrake does not want to lead the golden dragon to the Rim of Heaven in case there are dragons living there. Firedrake needs to decide and quick to either pack it in and just go home, or continue on with the possibility of having to fight the golden dragon once and for all.

Cornelia Funke weaves a wonderful tale of the adventure that a dragons, a mystical creature and a human boy have. The strength and courage gained from friendship is what helps to keep the story flowing along. The illustrations in this book are comical and perfect for the recommended age group of 9-12 years. The suspense in this story is weak but the characters are what will keep the reader going. Sorrel with her sharp and sour ways of saying what is on her mind, will keep the reader laughing and turning the pages.
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LibraryThing member jennyo
I have the hardcopy of the book, but we also listened to the audiobook read by Brendan Fraser, and we loved it. Fraser did a marvelous job with the voices, and his enthusiastic reading really got us involved in the story.
LibraryThing member Gundrum
This is a great read for kids who like adventure that isn't too dark. Children ages 9-12 who love fantasy should read this book. It is appropriate to read this novel aloud to younger children too.
LibraryThing member mitchellf3
a very good book through the eyes of a dragon, a boy, and a friend. the plot is they are trying to defeat an evel dragon who hunts down other dragons.. and they have to hurry before the dragon species becomes extinct!!!
LibraryThing member sdtaylor555
I adore this book. So sweet and fun! A marvelous adventure.
LibraryThing member PaulWW
Liked this much better then Inkheart, even if the ending was a bit predictable. Great characters, and wonderful characterizations by the reader! First Audio book of 2007!
LibraryThing member kfida
Not a classic fantasy. I like that maybe you wouldn't. I could not put it down.
LibraryThing member tawnya
In this straightforward fantasy for young/middle grade readers, dragon Firedrake sets off with his furry friend Sorrel to find the elusive Rim of Heaven, supposedly a place where dragons can live safely without fear of human intrusion. Along the way they pick up Ben, a plucky human orphan, and Tigleg, a wee homunculus with a hidden past. They must also avoid and evade Nettlebrand, an evil dragon who wants to hunt and kill all other dragons. Fast-paced and exciting without being too scary or confusing.… (more)
LibraryThing member palyam9
parents and children would enjoy this book together! I first bought the book from Audible, and bought it after one of my sons asked for it for his birthday. I am a total sook for books - if ever my kids ask for books I rush out and buy them immediately - too precious an opportunity to waste!
This one is exciting for boys, and has an interesting enough plot without becoming too simplistic. There were shades of Haroun and the Sea of Stories here.… (more)
LibraryThing member hpluver07
I read this book awhile ago, but i really enjoyed it. I t was a cute story
LibraryThing member sara_k
Dragon Rider features a dragon, a cranky brownie, a homonculus, a rat, and a boy. Firedrake, a silver dragon, is searching for the Rim of Heaven. The Rim is thought to be a safe haven for dragons and Firedrake is in need of a haven because humans are encroaching on the valley where he and other dragons have been living. Sorrell, a mushroom munching brownie, accompanies him. As they look for clues they pick up a young boy. There is evil looking for them; the great "Golden One" is some sort of super dragon who does not fly and who hunts silver dragons.

Sorrell isn't secure with the other creatures who join the quest but even she can see the positive connections between their journey and different prophecies.

I read this book with several children and the book sparked discussions about dealing with fear and bullies and what makes a family.

This is a lighter story than Inkheart or Thief Lord.
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LibraryThing member Jenson_AKA_DL
With the exception of the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale, the world of audio books has been mainly a disappointment to me. I am so glad this audio book read by Brendan Fraser was recommended to me. Fraser reads this story wonderfully bringing the characters of Ben, Sorrell and Firedrake to life, but my favorite characters he read had to be Twigleg the Gravelbeard the grumpy dwarf. Fraser gave everyone a personality of their own.

The story of Dragon Rider itself was quite enjoyable, if a tad long. In this story, Firedrake, a silver dragon, learns that his valley is about to be flooded by humans. An old mentor tells Firedrake about The Rim of Heaven, a fairy tale place where the dragons were said to have originally come from. Firedrake along with his brownie friend, Sorrell, sets off on quest to find The Rim of Heaven. Along the way they meet a variety of characters including the human boy, Ben, talking rats, enchanged ravens, dwarfs, fairies and, of course, the horrible, terrible Golden One, Nettlebrand. This is a story sure to delight pre-teens and up with excitement, bravery and magic.
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LibraryThing member Annod
I highly recommend listening to the book-on-tape version!
LibraryThing member nm.fall.08.e.vargas
Firerake, Ben, sorrel and slate beard waned to go out of the cave the live in and go explore the world. But slatebeard grandfather told them not to because they could be seen by humans. But slatebeard didn't care if they get seen or not. So him and his friends go and explore. Then him and his friend got on the dragon and flew over the mountains in the middle of the night. Then a boy saw him and yelled at the dragon. The little boy wanted to ride on the dragon. So then the dragon told him to get on. So the were fling all night long. Then he took him back to his house. Then they had to hide during the day so no one else would see them. During the night they flew miles and miles. Then they went to the ocean and flew across it for three days.… (more)
LibraryThing member 7BSk8rGurl
I really like this book because itisvery adventourous and exciting.
LibraryThing member imagrtdnlvr
A group of dragons threatened by people invading and destroying their home. Firedrake (a young dragon) and Sorrel (a brownie) set out to find the Rim of Heaven by the direction of the eldest dragon, Slatebeard. The Rim of Heaven is suppose to be a place that dragons can live without being discovered. Along their journey they're discovered by Ben (a human boy) that helps them and joins them on their journey.

I read a few chapters of this book to a fifth grade class to see if I could spark their interest in Cornelia Funke's books. I was surprised to see that I was able to keep the interest of the whole class by pausing to asks questions or have them give me a response. By the end of the hour of reading to them, several of the students were asking the teacher if this book was in their library. I also told them that one of the author's books was turned into a movie, Inkheart.

For an extension, I would have the class do a compare/contrast between the book and modern day society. I would also have the students do a research project of the different kinds of dragons. I also think the students would enjoy a scavenger hunt of as many books they can find that involve dragons.
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LibraryThing member TwilightBlue
Cornelia Funke is a very talented author. Although her books are written with the young adult reader in mind. They can hold the interest of the older reader. Dragon Rider is a fine book. Teaching about courage, faith, the value of truth and honesty, and "the true meaning of home".
LibraryThing member laf
I would give this 10 stars if I could. It's a really good book because it wasn't boring and I didn't want to put it down. There were some funny parts.
LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
After learning that humans are headed toward his hidden home, Firedrake, a silver dragon, is joined by a brownie and an orphan boy in a quest to find the legendary valley known as the Rim of Heaven, encountering friendly and unfriendly creatures along the way, and struggling to evade the relentless pursuit of an old enemy.
LibraryThing member norarieger
Here's news to quicken the pulses of Funke's many admirers: the fantasist's first novel, and her most popular so far in her native Germany, is now available to American readers. Crack open the fat volume, though, and it's instantly clear that this is different from Funke's previous books. With its large type, generous leading, and whimsical line art by the author, it simply looks more like a traditional middle-grade novel. The plot is correspondingly gentler, lighter, and more straightforward than those of The Thief Lord (2002) and Inkheart (2003), involving an ancient race of fabulous creatures under threat from a wily, vengeful foe. Funke proves she knows how to tickle the imaginations of younger readers: there's a silver dragon that absorbs moonlight as flight fuel, an orphan boy destined to become a Dragon Rider, a journey to the Himalayas, and plenty of humor, introduced in particular by the dragon's irritable brownie sidekick and by Twigleg, a homunculus prone to bowing and scraping. A full-color foldout map adds the perfect atmospheric touch. This is a good, old-fashioned ensemble-cast quest in the style of Lloyd Alexander, with a bit of Puff the Magic Dragon added to the mix. What could it be but a winner? Category: Books for Middle Readers--Fiction. 2004, Scholastic/Chicken House, $12.95. Gr. 4-6, younger for reading aloud. Starred Review (Jennifer Mattson (Booklist, Aug. 1, 2004 (Vol. 100, No. 22)))

Won Young Reader's Choice Award Winner 2007 Grades 4-6 Pacific Northwest
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LibraryThing member chestnut.library
If you like dragons or fantasy, this is the book for you!
LibraryThing member Heron.Rose
This is a great book all about a boy, a dragon, a brownie, a homunculous, and a big bad dragon, named Nettlebrand. I LOVED this book because it had funny parts, scary parts, and just plain fun parts!
LibraryThing member sbpagac
This is a long and character rich story of an orphan boy named Ben who befriends Sorrell, a brownie, and Firedrake, a silver Dragon. He accompanies them on the quest to find the rim of heaven so that all dragons can live free from humans. Along the way, they are being watched by Nettlebrand, the evil dragon. Twigleg, a homunculus, spies on them for Nettlebrand at first, but then quickly falls for Ben's friendship and helps the three of them out on their journey. Gravelbeard replaces Twigleg and helps Nettlebrand find them. However, in the end it is the three plus another dragon that they found in a cave at the rim of heaven, that defeats Nettlebrand. At the end, Ben has a new family and Firedrake brings all of the dragons from his home to live at the rim of heaven with the new found dragons. The strength in this book are the characters and their ability to keep the reader interested in what happens to them.… (more)

Pages

528

ISBN

0439456959 / 9780439456951
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