Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
At just eighteen years of age, Keir became the leader of the army fighting against the usurper king while Princes Edan and Egan led the navy. At his side, willing to help from time to time, was Sprite.
A friendly ghost, Sprite likes to keep Keir company and occasionally play tricks on Keir’s sister. When the Oracle demands Keir’s presence, he expects Sprite to travel with him.
He doesn’t expect the gale that knocks him overboard and into an adventure that might just kill him.
The Oracle’s Sprite adds in the Dragon of the Air to Mell Eight’s imaginative, and wonderful Oracle series. As with each book, the present Oracle is rebuilding her pantheon of elemental dragons. Most of the elemental Castes have lost their way, fallen to madness or self preservation, their Dragons gone missing or not found one to be “chosen” to be reborn. The Oracle needs that to change in order to restructure their guilds to better serve the kingdom of Altnoia and deliver it from the dark times ahead. So the Oracle’s been arranging the Dragons return, manipulating matters , sometimes brutally at the cost to the various Dragons to be, at least that what they see at the time. So far, we seen the return of The Dragon of Flame, The Dragon of Ether, and the Dragon of Earth. Now comes the Dragon of Air.
Our introduction to The Oracle’s Sprite is somewhat different than the rest. A castle hold has been invaded by a false king’s men and their are killing its inhabitants. A young boy wakes and manages to steal away with his baby sister. Its a brief introduction to the perilous times and places this book’s timeline exactly along side all the other books. What we don’t start with is the dragon. Not at first. That comes a little later and it comes in clues. What Mell Eight gives us is clues, lovely, descriptive clues that pile up everywhere as to who the Dragon of the Air is. Yes, when he appears, the reader will go “oh, there you are”, but its appearance is welcoming instead of frustrating.
Sometimes some of my most favorite elements in a Oracle story are the smallest ones. In this story its the description of the pattern that appears on the Dragon of the Air’s back when he walks out of the Testing Chamber.
“..he emerged from the testing chamber, his hair had paled to pure white and the Dragon of Air was tattooed on his back.
The dragon was formless. His back might have still looked blank if it weren’t for the slightest blurring of the skin, as if an invisible wind was forever etched there. The Oracle could see a pair of eyes hidden there, as well as a pair of clear wings attached at to a massive body. She knew where to look to find the Dragon…”
The Dragon that the boy would turn into as The Dragon of the Air. I have always loved the idea of tattoos that come alive. Here the tattoo and the boy are one in the same, two forms, one being. But its the boy that we will meet first.
Keir and Sprite are the only fully formed characters in the story, there are other minor interesting characters but they don’t get enough time within the plot to make them as multidimensional as they should be. Still, within the short scenes they appear in, this character is powerful and certainly scary. I just think the story lost depth by not including more of this character role and reasoning (if any).
While Keir and Sprite are in a sexual relationship (parts that have a funny aspect to it), there is little to no sex n the story, to the point that you could label this a YA story. Its high adventure, young love, dragons, pirates and a fight for a kingdom. Come on, who doesn’t love that? For me, that never gets old.
I did find it ended a little too abruptly, in fact, that has been my main complaint with every book of the series. All the endings just seem a little rushed. But Mell Eight’s creativity, her world building and, darn it all, her fabulous imagination that conjured up these Dragons, the Oracle and that Mountain. Well, that’s amazing, and now I can’t wait for the next dragon to appear. That would be The Dragon of Water. Roll it out, Mell Eight! You have me on air!
Cover art by London Burden. The Dragon of the Air is a tough dragon to portray but since most of the harrowing scenes take place at sea, this is a fitting image.