Matthews, Patrick. Dragon Run. 2013.
Hardcover, $16.99, ISBN: 978-0-545-45068-3.
Come to a world where mortals were created by dragons to gather magic for them. Since time immemorial, the mortals have been branded according to their worth to the dragons. Every person is branded with a number, from 1-7, that denotes their value to the dragons. A high number means that lucky person will be able to own land, and handle magic directly. The lower your number, the lower your place in society, with 1's being the lowest value. Any person with a one becomes an outcast, and struggles to find work, housing, and food.
Al is twelve years old, and he is going to his testing day. Today, he will learn what his number is. He will discover what kind of life he will be able to live, and he will begin his apprenticeship when the day is finished. Al is hoping to be a 3, or even a 4. He will be able to own land, and continue to farm with his parents.
Before the day is over, Al finds himself shunned by society. His parents have disowned him, claiming that they had found him and raised him as their own. Even worse, the Cullers have set out to find him, determined to "thin the herd" and eliminate the useless mortal (and his family) who is incapable of gathering magic for the dragons.
As Al runs for his life, he finds himself swept into an adventure much older than him. Brave enough to stand up to the Magisters, brave enough to fight the Cullers, Al is the one person who can change the course of history and stop the tyranny of the dragons. But, with the mark of a zero on him, Al is a hunted teenager, constantly on the run from his enemies, as well as his friends.
As Al runs for his life, he discovers the mysterious feather society - but has he found them in time to save the world, or to doom it?
Author's Web Site:
Dragon Run marks the first YA Book I have read since January, when I sat down and vowed to finish my Master's Degree. What a fantastic return to the world of Young Adult literature this has been! Mr. Matthews weaves a tale full of unexpected plot twists and turns, and tells a story with a character that is compelling and delightful. I enjoyed reading this book! I started it in the parking lot while waiting for one of my children to get out of an activity, continued to read it at a science fair while children and activities swirled around me, and finished it late last night. Truly, the book is a page turner.
Dragon Run is Mr. Matthew's first published novel. I hope he publishes many more books. He is a gifted storyteller!