Reviewed by: Lisa Brown-Gilbert, Pacific Book Review
What happens when a lonely young boy of thirteen finds a young dragon that he befriends and eventually forms a symbiotic relationship with?
The answer is … magic filled adventures and these adventures can be found in the urban fantasy novel, A Boy and His Dragon written by author Michael J. Bowler. This book is geared towards young adults and actually portrays an important message to readers and that is to accept your differences as a person and to accept the differences of others. As a fantasy genre book, this book does deliver, it hits all the main elements required for a good fantasy story; there is magic, adventure, a dragon, an ancient sorcerer( that drives a neighborhood ice cream truck) and the struggle between good and evil.
The story takes place in California in 1970 with central character Bradley Wallace Murphy who is age thirteen. Lonesome Bradley Wallace has no friends, and he feels unaccepted by his parents. His only solace is found with the characters of the then popular (and his favorite) television showDark Shadows. One fateful day Bradley Wallace discovers an egg that hatches and produces a dragon. Bradley names his dragon companion Whilly. Whilly the dragon and Bradley Wallace become fast friends. The young boy attempts to both feed the dragon and conceal his presence to the outside world but it becomes hard because of the dragon’s increasing size and overwhelming appetite for live food. As the story develops Bradley Wallace and his dragon Whilly not only grow to be friends but also develop a psychic bond and a symbiotic relationship that allows Bradley to realize his profoundly strong magic abilities including the ability to fly. But there is a catch to Bradley Wallace’s powers; he can only express them when he is in close proximity to Whilly which eventually leads to the two parting ways for the sake of the boy’s well being.
Also further complicating his life is his nemesis, John Wagner. John is the school bully who really is a lot like Bradley Wallace deep down inside; he is a loner too and does not feel an attachment to his mother. The two boys start out as sworn enemies but eventually learn that they both have something special in common and grow to accept each other as friends.
In this story adventures abound as Bradley Wallace and Whilly heroically stop several terrible events from occurring by virtue of their combined powers. While Bradley Wallace begins to accept what his true nature is, he is also faced with the fact that his parents may believe that their son has some mental issues that are deeply affecting him and causing him to behave oddly, so they try to get him psychiatric help but that was not what Bradley Wallace needs. By the end of the story Bradley Wallace learns that he is worth much more than he ever gave himself credit for.
Although this storyline has been re-hashed over and over, this book still makes an interesting read because it is well put together; it is adequately edited and intelligently written as some of the language used will definitely lead to an increase in your daily vocabulary. The characters are interesting and the reader will be able to relate the plight of the characters. Overall this book makes for a good read for those interested in the urban fantasy genre.