A Book Review from Books At a Glance
by Kristin Stiles
Fantasy is such a popular genre for tweens and early adolescents. The difficulty faced by many parents trying to find books to interest their children who love this type of book is that there are often questionable themes including witchcraft and the occult which often crop up in this category. The latest books are even filled with gender ideology and other wholly inappropriate content. Set against this backdrop, The Dream Keeper Saga is a refreshing alternative. All of the fantasy with none of the objectionable material.
The Dragon and the Stone is the first book in the Dream Keeper Saga and traces the adventures of Lily McKinley, a twelve-year-old girl who struggles with all the awkwardness of that age combined with the recent loss of her father who didn’t make it back from his last business trip. She is bullied at school and overwhelmed at home where she helps to take care of a grandmother with dementia while her mom is overworked trying to keep the household going on one income. All of these problems are quickly overshadowed on the day that a dragon appears in Lily’s kitchen. That is the beginning of an adventure that will take her to another world that is best described as one that is somewhere between wakefulness and sleep. In this world, she encounters great danger as evil entities known as shrouds try to steal the magical stone she discovered in a book given to her by her father. She also meets up with quite the cast of good characters, too. Many of these are familiar to the reader from mythology and legends. She even discovers some characters that she has created in her own imagination. She is tasked with a seemingly impossible job of traversing this world to free others who carry stones like hers, but she gets help in unexpected ways from unexpected sources.
I would not characterize this story as an allegory, but there are definite parallels that the reader can make with the biblical narrative. There are strong themes of forgiveness and redemption. There are also insights into how behaviors, while ultimately flowing out of radically depraved humans, are often shaped by traumatic events in life and that we need to be sensitive to what others have endured that influences present actions and attitudes.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and it kept me interested. I think young readers will find it captivating and will be eager to read the other books in this series.
Kristin Stiles is a home-school mom, a Sunday School teacher, and helps lead the “Young, Reading, & Reformed” children’s ministry at Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA.