Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief rides a tidal wave of adventure: exhilarating, action-packed and hilarious.
Alex Neptune lives in the seaside town of Haven Bay which is not an ideal location if the ocean is trying to kill you and you hate water! Legend has it that the Bay was created by a mythical creature, a water dragon … but surely that is just a legend told to draw in the tourists. Or maybe, just maybe, the sea creatures that are showing an interest in Alex, know something he doesn’t …
When Alex takes home Kraken, an adorable water-squirting octopus that his legend-loving friend Anil has found, it leads him to the deserted aquarium where he finds four otters feeding something in a tank … something that has been imprisoned … something that needs his help to escape. But wait a minute … isn’t the ocean trying to kill him? – will it stop now that he has been tasked with saving a water dragon. Yes! A water dragon … maybe there is truth in the legend. Could its imprisonment have anything to do with the mysterious, guarded Station which has been built by Mayor Parch and the toxins that are polluting the sea and killing the sea life? And who is the sinister stranger who seems to have taken a strong interest in the dragon?
So begins a rip-roaring, unputdownable adventure as Alex and his friends, Anil and Zoey, find themselves in a race against time to save the water dragon from being taken from Haven Bay, and leaving the ocean and its inhabitants in danger. Just wow! I felt like I was on a wild rapids raft as I was tossed and turned by the incredible twists and revelations which made it such a thrilling read. I adore stories based on myths and legends, so this was right up my street: I so enjoyed learning the background to the myth and how it brings the past and the present together – just brilliant!
As well as being a magical, fantasy adventure, this story also has some powerful messages about the importance of looking after the environment with the harm that pollution and trophy-hunting is causing to the ocean and its creatures, and the damage that can be caused by unscrupulous, greedy people when technology is used to harm rather than help. I liked that Zoey wants to use technology to benefit the environment, emphasising that it can be used for good.
“True strength is standing up for what you believe in, even when it would be easier not to.” (Alex)
I really liked the three children, Alex, Zoey and Anil, and enjoyed how their friendship group became stronger and closer as they worked together as a team to develop a plan, overcome dangers and support each other. Alex learns so much about himself and his special connection with the ocean, and shows real courage when facing his fears. Zoey loves inventing things and never gives up – even if her inventions are more likely to end in an explosion! Anil loves legends and animals, but is finding Haven Bay lonely. I loved his relationship with Pinch! I also have to give a special mention to Alex’s older sister, Bridget who is utterly brilliant – someone who goes after what she wants, works hard to meet her goals, and refuses to accept that there is anything she can’t do.
I absolutely loved the adorable sea creatures from Kraken who is a real fast-shooter with water and a master of disguise to the distraction-bringing, chaos-loving, acrobatic otters to Pinch whose name suits perfectly as he is a gull with a penchant for thieving which leads to some hilarious moments.
This is a magical, thrilling, heart-warming adventure brimming with wonderful friendships, humour and heart. This should be in every young, and young at heart, adventurer’s hands as it is sure to bring giggles, gasps and giant waves of fun! I can’t wait to join Alex on his next adventure …
Having worked as a freelance games journalist and taught on a BA Creative Writing course for three years, David Owen’s debut novel, Panther, was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and was followed by three further highly acclaimed YA novels. Alex Neptune is his first series for younger readers, born of his love for nail-biting heists, fantastical monsters and heartfelt friendships.
Thank you so much to Kaleidoscopic Tours for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour, and to Usborne for providing me with a copy of Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief in exchange for my honest opinion.
Do check out the other stops on this week’s Blog Tour below: