Reviews,  SJardine

New Dragon City By Mari Mancusi

No one predicted the dragon apocalypse. The dragons came suddenly and decimated the world as we knew it, including New York City. Now, three years later, Noah, his hardcore survivalist father, and a ragtag group of survivors are barely scraping by in this new reality. Kids scavenge not only for materials in abandoned homes but also for leftover books at the library. Adults spend their time establishing a make-shift society and defending their shelter… with any means available. At least for the few months the dragons are hibernating, until it’s no longer safe aboveground.

Noah has seen the damage these creatures can do firsthand. It’s kill or be killed. But a chance encounter between Noah and a young dragon causes him to question everything he thought he knew. With rumors spreading that there’s a group of survivors living in harmony with dragons instead of hiding underground, Noah teams up with his fire-breathing ally to find out if peace between humans and dragons is really possible. But the division runs deeper than scales versus skin because trying to follow his heart might just cost Noah his family too. If Noah and his father can’t see eye to eye, can he really get humans and dragons to?

As an avid reader of middle-grade books about things like dragons and post-apocalyptic survival stories,  I’m always looking for new stories to capture my imagination. So when I had another author I love recommended this book I figured it would be worth trying. Then I read the book’s description and my attitude went from ‘Why not?’ to ‘post-apocalyptic dragon fiction? Oh fuck yeah! I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever read or really even seen a book that combines the two like New Dragon City does. At the very least I know that I’ve never read one that does it as well as New Dragon City does. I found myself so engrossed in this book that I was almost an hour late for work because I just didn’t realize what day it was.

I really enjoyed how Mari Mancusi managed to take two of my favorite middle-grade book topics and merge them into an adventure that feels both fresh and original. The premise of dragons just one day appearing above the earth and decimating the world, leaving humanity to scramble and struggle to survive is both intriguing and a little bit scary. Noah is a fantastic character and I really enjoyed reading about him trying to survive the hellscape that New York has become with his father and their band of survivors. I knew going into this book that Noah was going to befriend a dragon but I did not expect that to change how I was viewing the story and start making me question whether the dragons or the humans were the real monsters of the story.

I enjoyed this book so much that after I finished reading it I went out and bought the audiobook. As much as I enjoyed reading New Dragon City I enjoyed listening to it even more. The narrator is usually what makes or breaks an audiobook for me and I’m glad I can say that Alex Boyles and Soneela Nankani absolutely nail their narration. It takes a great narrator to make you lose yourself in the story as I did while listening to this one. I’ll definitely be seeing what other books they narrate, and if New Dragon  City ever gets a sequel I will be sad if they aren’t the ones to narrate it.

Overall, I loved every aspect of this book and would eagerly recommend it to everyone I know. In fact, I would strongly encourage everyone to support Mari Mancusy by going out and purchasing a copy of New Dragon City. This is too good a book not to get the sequel it deserves.



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