Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: The Dragon's Tooth

For two years, Cyrus and Antigone Smith have run a sagging roadside motel with their older brother, Daniel. Nothing ever seems to happen. Then a strange old man with bone tattoos arrives, demanding a specific room.

Less than 24 hours later, the old man is dead. The motel has burned, and Daniel is missing. And Cyrus and Antigone are kneeling in a crowded hall, swearing an oath to an order of explorers who have long served as caretakers of the world's secrets, keepers of powerful relics from lost civilizations, and jailers to unkillable criminals who have terrorized the world for millennia.

N. D. Wilson, author of Leepike Ridge and 100 Cupboards, returns with an imagination-capturing adventure that inventively combines the contemporary and the legendary. (From

"North of Mexico, south of Canada, and not too far west of the freshwater sea called Lake Michigan, in a place where cows polka-dot hills and men are serious about cheese, there is a lady on a pole." ~The Dragon's Tooth

I first heard of the Dragon's Tooth through the fantastic book trailer that premiered just before the release. (See the bottom of this post for the trailer.) It was professionally done and really did a great job at catching my attention. After hearing several good opinions on the book, I decided to check it out from the library.

To say it outright, the Dragon's Tooth was a good book. In comparison to 100 Cupboards (the book, not the whole series in general), I liked the Dragon's Tooth better. Varied characters with rich histories abounded, and the world as we knew it took on a new shine in light of a secret society. For the most part, the characters were well-done and unique. From quirky guys to grim leaders to traitors, they were a motley and colorful bunch.

Wilson's characteristic humor was present throughout the book, albeit in lesser amounts than in his other series, The Books of the 100 Cupboards. (I reviewed 100 Cupboards some time ago.  I'd link you, but I don't have much time. By the way, I ended up finishing the series. The two following books were MUCH better than the preceding. Highly recommended.)

Wilson's writing style is definitely unique. His peculiar and trademark style is like few I've read before. It relies on a lot of showing, which is a good thing. His description, while vivid, left me feeling a little confused during the first few pages. It takes a while to get used to it. If you've read any of Wilson's other books, you'd know what I mean. (An example of this style is found in the first sentence of the book, which I posted above.)

The plot of the novel wandered about, a string of half-random events that wove together into the conclusion. There wasn't a driving force to it. It was the difference between planning an attack or trying to survive a battle, if you get what I mean. One seems more structured and the other darts about. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it doesn't have the I-have-to-finish-this-to-read-the-end-or-I'll-die drive that it might have had.

The plot and settings were fairly unique, though I could see a couple of parallels and similarities to Harry Potter in it. These weren't particularly large, however, and didn't bother me.

The idea of a secret society woven throughout history was a brilliant one, as were other such concepts scattered throughout the book, like keys that could open any door. There was also a lady on a pole, a tooth that could kill transmortals and mortals alike, secret passages, and a really, really cool oath that Acolytes have to take. (See the video below.)

There were several borderline things in this book. Firstly, there were dead people who appeared to still have their spirits near their bodies. (However, that section was a little confusing when I read it, so I may have misinterpreted that.) There was also the concept of transmortality. While those things didn't pop up much, it did make me wonder how Wilson (a Christian) would resolve it in the future installments.

In summary; the plot, though wandersome, was unique, the characters were great, and the writing style was a little confusing. There was nothing really spectacular about this book, but there's nothing really bad about it either. I really liked it, but there wasn't much to make me love it. It's a fast read.

I'm hoping, however, the next few books will improve. The same happened with 100 Cupboards, actually. The first book recieved a "forgettable fantasy" rating from me, while the following books were fantastic in many ways. If this series does the same, it'll prove to be amazing.

In a word, recommended.

Rated 8 out of 10.

Check out the epic book trailer:

(Note: I won't be blogging too much, due to the fact that we cut our internet.  I'm posting this pre-written post from Starbucks, actually.)


Christopher said...

I disagree with you on a couple of points. On the whole however, you had mostly the same view as I did of this book. I think its better than The Chestnut King personally. Anyway, you can find my review of this same book here:

Anyway, leave me a comment!
And it was still a great review.

Hannah Joy said...

Can'! :-)