I’ve just finished the third book in Chris d’Lacey’s six-book series. Since my son Al is reading them also (he introduced me to them), I plan to continue reading them. But I have to admit some disappointment with the way the series has changed from the first book to the third.
The Fire Within was delightful. The idea was original (Liz Pennykettle crafts clay dragons for sale, but it seems that they are more than just clay figurines), and the characters really came to life through d’Lacey’s writing. He didn’t just tell about them or how they felt, he used dialog and action to show just what they were like.
There’s David, the college student who knows there’s something strange in the Pennykettle household, but isn’t about to believe that the dragons are real. There’s Lucy, 11 years old and impetuous, endearing, passionate (especially about the backyard squirrels), and sometimes petulant. Then there’s Liz, Lucy’s mother and David’s landlady, trying to keep the truth about the dragons hidden from David until he is ready to accept it.
The dragons are also enchanting, each with its own personality. Liz makes a dragon for David, which he names Gadzooks. It is a special writing dragon, and it gives him inspiration for a story he writes for Lucy’s birthday, by sometimes writing a word on the writing pad it carries (David sees these words when he imagines Gadzooks writing them).