The Biased Bibliophile‘s Spoiler-Free review of Dragons of Introvertia
Narrator: Chris Jackman
Publication Date: 12 June 2020
Genre: MG Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
Introvertia is – get ready for this – a kingdom full of introverts. People there enjoy reading, spending time at home or with one or two friends, and eating good food; you know how it goes. Small talk is explicitly banned in the constitution and no one will mind if you spend the entire day in the Reading Square with a good book. I bet you’d love it there. Fifteen-year-old Eza Skywing is training to join the Rangers, the kingdom’s legendary protectors – the ones who can talk to dragons! He’s just finished his Year of Silence, the final step before getting a dragon of his very own, only to be devastated when he learns that hundreds of dragons have gone missing and there are none for his class at the Dragon Academy! What could possibly have happened? Fifty miles away, on the far side of the Very Large Forest, the brilliant Cammie Ravenwood has just celebrated her sixteenth birthday. She loves living in Exclaimovia, with all its loud parties and chaotic streets and constant interruptions – although she hates the way people look at her sideways when she wants some time alone, in silence. That stings, but what could she do…flee to Introvertia? Everything changes for Cammie when she learns a horrible her people have stolen Introvertia’s dragons and are planning to start a war. Her father, a famous general, will be thrown into danger again. There’s no way Cammie will let that happen, so she does the unthinkable. She sets off for Introvertia, desperate to find someone who will help her. In the Very Large Forest she meets Eza, and the two of them immediately discover why their kingdoms have been bitter enemies for thousands of years. It’s up to them to find the stolen dragons and stop the war…if they don’t annoy each other to death in the process! Yet they find that there are forces behind the scenes more sinister than anything they ever suspected – and that both Exclaimovia and Introvertia may merely be pawns in an even bigger scheme… Dragons of Introvertia is a young adult series like no other. It’s optimistic in tone, a deliberate push-back against all the bleak, dismal, and dystopian young-adult fantasy that seems to be everywhere these days. It also highlights the introvert experience, letting introverts of all ages know that they’re awesome because of who they are. (Our ideal reader is a teenage introvert who flips the pages and exclaims, “Wow! There’s a word for people like me!”) It also hits on big issues, like mental illness, losing a parent, war and its effects on normal people, and staying positive when everything looks impossible. There’s humor, adventure, magic, and dragons…what more could you want? Buy Dragons of Introvertia for an exciting adventure today!
Review of Dragons of Introvertia
When a friend recently recommended Dragons of Introvertia by James and Bit Barringer, I was intrigued, and when I saw that it is considered “optimistic fantasy” I immediately started listening to the audiobook. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the book, and I think we need more optimistic fantasy stories in the world.
My favorite aspect of the novel was the way Eza and Cammie, two teenagers from opposing kingdoms, found joy in their differences. The two frequently joked that they were rubbing off on one another, and I enjoyed the way they appreciated each other’s culture, even though they were not familiar or comfortable with it.
Similarly, I love the fact that Eza’s kingdom, Introvertia, focuses on active listening and empathy. The idea of a culture based on these key communication skills is enthralling, and it made me wonder what kind of place we would be living in if our world was a little more like that.
Additionally, I know the book is technically labeled as young adult, but it certainly reads more like middle grade, but regardless, I enjoyed it.
Finally, I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Chris Jackman, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I finished it in under two days. If I had not already known that this was the first book Jackman narrated, I certainly would never have guessed it. I appreciated the way he gave each character unique intonations. Oftentimes, I think the best audiobooks have narrators where you can hear that they are excited to be telling the story, and this book was a perfect example of that. It seemed like Jackman had fun narrating, which made me have fun listening.
As a whole, I would definitely recommend this novel, especially for anyone who enjoys middle grade fantasy. I think the audiobook specifically would be a great way to encourage reading within children who are in middle school.