Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Review - R. L. LaFevers' The Wyverns' Treasure

The Wyvern's Treasure (Nathaniel Fludd Book 3) by R.L. LaFevers
Published by: Houghton Mifflin
Publication Date: October 5th, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 160 Pages
Challenge: Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★
To Buy
Nathaniel Fludd and his Aunt Phil have cared for a Phoenix and helped recapture an escaped Basilisk. All in a days work for a Beastologist, except that there's this niggling doubt that perhaps they've been set up. How did that Basilisk escape? Also what of the sightings of a red haired man at both sites? Rushing back to England to solve these mysteries and perhaps answer a few relating to Nathaniel's parents disappearance, they find even more trouble. Aunt Phil's house has been ransacked, but luckily Cornelius, her pet Dodo, is fine, even if he might object to the word "pet." He in fact might object to many things, including Nathaniel and his "pet" Greasle, a gremlin, which is very similar to "vermin" in Cornelius's book. According to Cornelius the home invader looked very much like Phil... leading to the conclusion that perhaps the branch of the family that was long ago disowned due to their greed and corruption has returned to wreck vengeance. Octavius Fludd must have passed on his hatred of the other Fludds to his living descendant, Obediah. Hoping that perhaps Nathaniel's parents' lawyer and his ex governess, Miss Lumpton, might have some answers to their problems, they head to London by train, a far preferable means of transportation to Aunt Phil's rickety plane. But the lawyers office is boarded up and heading on to the Fludd homestead in Upton Downs, they discover this house has been ransacked as well and Miss Lumpton's possessions have been cleared out. But they don't have long to consider the ramifications of a second home invasion because a plea comes from Wales. The Wyverns are restless. These glorious dragons were long ago tamed into behavior by a treaty. This Covenant protected not only the people and their crops but helped to hide the Wyverns and keep them happy and secluded. Only a person has broken the treaty by entering their caves. It doesn't take Phil and Nathaniel long to realize that this has to be Obediah's work. If they can only find him before it's too late and the Covenant lies in tatters while the countryside burns.

Nathaniel Fludd and his adventures are a quick little joy to read. They have that nostalgic olde tyme feel with the exploratory gene akin to Indiana Jones. What I loved about this book was the Wyverns. In the two previous installments we had the beauty of the Phoenix, which introduced the glories of being a Beastologist to Nathaniel. In the second book, the Basilisk showed Nathaniel the dangers. But what we get with the Wyverns is something entirely new. They aren't good or evil, they just live by their instincts, but they have an intelligence and an ability to understand and communicate that the others did not. Instead of just observing the beasts, we get more of an inner knowledge as to how they think, how they live and love. Plus, instead of lone creatures, they live together in a community raising their young and forming life long bonds. Also, it never really struck me before about the underlying message of animal preservation. Creatures that were once pests and vermin were hunted into extinction or close to. Now these beasts become rare endangered animals and it's up to the Beastologists to nurture and care for the creatures while keeping them hidden from the outside world who contributed to their depleted numbers. Without bashing you over the head, but showing us these wonderful beasts, Robin is teaching kids the importance of animals, that it's preservation and care not exploitation that need to be embraced. Because as everyone knows, if there are still dragons in the world, we don't know of them anymore, so either the Beastologists are doing a really good job or they were too late. Hopefully the kids reading these books will realize there is a time when it's too late and it's best to start helping animals yesterday.


I'm looking forward to this one lots (and so are my kids!) The Wyverns sound great, and the message is one I am all in favor of.

I'm hoping it gets nominated for the Cybils Awards so that I can read it with a clean conscience...I'm one of the panelists judging the first round of middle grade sci fi/fantasy--which means over 100 books to read this fall!

Oh, but the fun too!

I am way behind in my blog reading but here I sit on Sunday trying to catch up.
I enjoy children's books once in a while and this sounds like one I would like to try.
I am all for animal preservation and applaud efforts to get the message across to kids that the planet belongs to animals too.

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