The Summer Dragon is the debut fantasy novel by artist Todd Lockwood - the first book in his Evertide Series. It's not your average coming-of-age novel. With Lockwood's artistic deftness and philosophical approach reflecting in the way he describes the world and the settings, it's one of the most well-crafted YA novels you'll ever read.
Set in a world where Dragons are raised and trained to maintain power over enemies, this book discusses the way beliefs, superstitions, and power intertwine.
It's not every day an ordinary human encounters one of the Avar (the High Dragons), and if they did, they have seen the beginning of change. But when Maia, the daughter of a Dragonry's chief spots Getig, The Summer Dragon in the forest, the superstitious establishment insists that the sighting means no good for the teenager. Now with Maia's struggle with her own self-doubt and longing to get a Dragon of her own, the tiff between two philosophies and the menace of monstrous Dragons, she has many overwhelming battles to fight.
Staying true to the genre of coming-of-age novel and bringing a philosophical twist in the story, Todd Lockwood is no doubt one of the most outstanding new voices in epic fantasy.
Will The Summer Dragon Change it For the Better?
So our protagonist is going through the same old blues we see the main characters in ever YA facing. She knows she is the chosen one but chosen for the worse is what she suspects. Maia is a layered character - she's doubtful and scared, but she's also stubborn and knows what she wants. The Summer Dragon is not helping either after the first appearance, and our girl is on her own to deal with the unfolding truths. The action in this book is quite overwhelming and a lot happens for a first book - this also accelerates Maia's character development. We never know what we might come across in upcoming installments.
I like Lockwood's illustrations of Maia; the physical structure foreshadowing her life as a Dragon sire and warrior. Darian, Maia's brother is my least favorite character, because for God's sake, can't we for once have a sidekick who's confident and secure? Other characters are quite interesting. Bellua and Mabir are quite multi-dimensional. Lockwood did a good job with Mabir, the elderly mentor-figure, by not making him an invincible, all-knowing wizard. Bellua and Mabir, though two opposite characters (especially in their perspective about The Summer Dragon), feel connected. Both figures of power and knowledge. Both remind us that no matter how much you know, there's always lot we can learn.
Things get intense quite early in the book. There's a war going on that seems to be a never-ending one. The greater menace that threatens the existence of both humans and Dragons is a mysterious dark entity that exhibits telepathic powers. Though the horrors (Frankenstein-ish hybrid evil Dragons) aren't any less threatening, but this evil energy is the real deal. Mind your thoughts, people!
Lockwood balances the overwhelming actions scenes with occasional beautiful Dragon-Human moments. I fell in love with Kerr, Maia's Dragon. Lockwood's depiction of the Maia's first flight with Kerr is full of emotions and beautiful imagery.
Wrapping it up, I recommend The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood to every fan of fantasy fiction. It's one of the best fantasies I've come across after LOTR and Harry Potter. Go grab your copy, and let me know how the ride with Dragons and Horrors suited you.