Review: The Girl with the Dragon Heart

Published by Bloomsbury
Published on 9th August 2018
Illustrator: Freya Hartas

Just wow!  This magical adventure is utterly superb.  It is the kind of story I just sink into contentedly:  it completely immersed me in a richly imagined world with a brilliant cast of characters whose interactions and relationships captured me as I was desperate to learn the truth of Silke’s story.

The first book in this series, The Dragon with the Chocolate Hearttold Aventurine’s story and introduced the strong friendship between her and Silke.  This story is most definitely Silke’s and what an incredibly brilliantly told story it is …

Silke is determined to be the creator of her own path, the author of her own life story, and is most definitely not prepared to accept the path that was forced upon her as a young child.   She is fiercely independent, clever and has a way with words that sees her talk herself out of many tricky situations … but also into a few!  However, the Silke she shows her friends – the bright smile and quick wit – is not her true self as she is hiding deep pain and loss. 

Silke suffers hidden heartache in her past as the fairies of Erkenwald struck a cruel bargain with her parents that saw her separated from them.  This terrible separation at such a young age leaves Silke craving a home and a sense of belonging, but also determined to find security, something she thinks she is going to have when she is offered a home in the Palace by the Crown Princess Katrin in return for some spying.  Unfortunately for Silke, the younger Princess Sofia feels she would make a better spy.  Sofia has a deep desire to impress her older sister and is jealous of Silke’s role:  will she be able to overcome her jealousy, or will she ruin Silke’s chance for a home in the palace?

The fairy Court of Erkenwald have read one of Silke’s handbills, effusing about their new protectors, the dragons, who happen to be an old enemy of the fairies.  They announce that they are coming to make their own alliance with Drachenburg.  Will Silke be able to maintain her cover as a lady-in-waiting, or will the temptation to find out what happened to her parents be too strong to overcome and so risk her new-found position at Court? 

The fairy King and Queen are brilliantly drawn.  They exude a real sense of threat through their powerful magic and manipulative natures.  Does their offer of an alliance hold an ulterior motive?  One related to an age-old enemy and new friend of the Court.  Can Silke strike a bargain with the fairies that will save the Kingdom, and herself?

The friendship between Silke and Aventurine is truly wonderful.  Aventurine is a fiercely loyal friend:  fiery, protective and funny.  She is also impulsive, proud and strong-willed:  a combination that leads to trouble … This love and loyalty is returned in full by Silke who is learning the true value of friendship and home.  She realises that a home is where the people who love and accept you for who you are live; where you can be honest and be your true self; where you are supported and not alone. 

This is a truly wonderful story which I read in one sitting, completely captured by Silke and engrossed in the narrative:  filled with excitement, fast-paced action and wonderful characters.  A real treat – just like a mug of the best chilli-infused hot chocolate:  heart-warming, rich and completely satisfying – with a kick!

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