Friday, November 5, 2021

Review - Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon

Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon

by Eve Cabanel
illustrated by Ekaterina Ilchenko
Date: 2021
Publisher: Twenty Two House Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A moon elf’s journey to undo a dragon’s curse illuminates the power of friendship. Two courageous friends adventure through lands of unicorns, fairies, and magical rainbows to confront a terrifying beast with a surprising wish.

In a beautiful enchanted forest lives a moon elf named Eli and her friend Luna. When Luna’s baby bunny is turned into hard rock candy by magical sugar crystals, the friends begin a journey to do the impossible to reverse the curse: confront the terrifying and legendary Hallowshine dragon for a drop of its healing saliva.

In their journey to find the dragon, Eli and Luna meet magical creatures and travel through various dreamy lands including the Abyss of Time, a marvelous unicorn’s kingdom, a whimsical fairy’s home, and a waterfall with enchanted golden shoes.

The friends race against time to find the mysterious dragon and a magical lesson is learned about how love, friendship, and acceptance can heal all if you have courage and believe in yourself.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a really hard book to rate and review. The illustrations are absolutely lovely, luminous and colourful and appealing. The text, on the other hand, is overabundant and weak, with grammatical errors throughout. And the quest is ultimately a bit pointless.

Eli, a moon elf, is friends with many forest creatures. For some reason, nasty sugar crystals have appeared. If touched, they'll turn a person into rock candy. (A bit dark, I know.) Anyway, a baby bunny gets himself turned into rock candy, so Eli and her friend Luna set off to find the Hallowshine dragon. It has magical spit that will undo the rock candy curse... but only if it's used before nightfall.

That's a decent enough story, but the ending ruins it for me. Basically, the whole object of the quest turns out not to be necessary, and Eli pulls a deus ex machina to solve their problem. Perhaps if we'd known more about Eli and her origins, this resolution might not have seemed so abrupt and convenient.

I can see some readers really enjoying the illustrations in this one. What's annoying, though, is that the illustrator isn't even credited on the cover! It's unfortunate, given that the pictures are the real strength of this book. Children might like listening to the story, but be aware that the book is somewhat heavy on the text, so it might take a bit longer to read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Twenty Two House Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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