Summary: A settler on a new planet with her parents and younger brother, Varia loves the story of the constellation of a dragon and its rider in the skies above her new home. But when the rider appears in physical form, calling himself Specto, the star-child, Varia isn’t sure of his true intentions. Soon after meeting him, Varia discovers what she realizes is an egg in a cave, and Specto’s reaction to it makes her want to protect it even more. Specto’s star water is making the people in her community younger and healthier, but when the egg hatches and a dragon appears, Varia gets a different part of the story. As her friendship with the dragon she names Galatea grows, Varia becomes convinced Specto is leading everyone astray, until Varia’s own body begins to change, and not in a ‘becoming a woman’ kind of way.
Number of Pages: 269
Age Range: 13-16
Review: Once I got over my confusion about a star being a physical being on a foreign planet and the reference to a constellation as something appearing in the sky and in reality, I was taken with Draco’s Child by Sharon Plumb. I absolutely loved the scientific aspect of it, landing on a new planet as settlers, bringing the plants and crops of Earth and expecting things to be quite similar when planting in a new location. Plumb captures the arrogance of this assumption, while combining science fiction with fantasy on a planet where it seems the impossible is possible.
On this planet, the mythical figures in the stars aren’t mythical after all. Dragons are real, and Varia befriends one when she rescues an egg and facilitates its’ hatching. Plumb develops Galatea’s dragon character with distinctive dialogue that serves to move the story along, and I got the gist of what was being said, but I ended up wishing she had included a glossary of terms in the back of the book.
The whole story about the different fungus located on the planet and how they affect all living things as well as how they came to be there in the first place was fascinating. The fantasy part with the dragons was equally fascinating, especially with the twists and turns when fantasy and science collide to create some unfortunate circumstances.
There were only two things holding me up from completely enjoying Draco’s Child. The first was Specto’s appearance on the planet. I just didn’t understand how a star could be a person too, and eventually I just had to let go of my disbelief to get into the story. And the second was the ending, because I just didn’t understand exactly what happened to Specto and the eggs. Were the eggs still able to hatch?
It was a thought-provoking read with action and educational aspects, plus, it was just a fun read. Maybe I didn’t always know exactly what was going on, but I understood enough to thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of reading it.
“So she couldn’t just be herself – whatever that meant now. It had been foolish of them, naive humans, to think that they could move to a completely alien place and not be changed themselves. To imagine that carrot seeds and readers were enough to carry them into a new life.” – Varia from Draco’s Child by Sharon Plumb, page 198