The Dragon’s Eye, by Kaza Kingsley, was published in 2007 by Firelight Press.
Enter Alypium, a hidden world within our own where our old knowledge of magic is kept, and strange and fantastical creatures abound. It is a beautiful and mystical place, but things are caving in. The king is hypnotized and his castle turned on its side. The very Substance that holds our planet together has gone awry…and whispers tell of evil plan to destroy everything. Twelve year old Erec Rex has been yanked out of the world as we know it and thrown unwillingly into danger here. As he learns how to get by in this strange place, he discovers some truths about himself…and must learn the power of trust and love in order to save his mother, and all of Alypium.
Erec Rex: The Dragon’s Eye has a fairly interesting concept and world, but it’s completely marred by the frequent obtuseness of the characters and the generally poor writing. There were multiple times throughout the book when I wanted to shout at Erec for not thinking things through—part of which may have been the writing—and some of the characters were written so poorly that I was convinced that something else was going on to make them act that way only to find out that no, it was just the way they were written.
The red herring villain reeked too much like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to be convincing, and Erec was so dismissive of a character’s ability to be a bad guy that it was incredibly obvious that particular character was, in fact, a bad guy. Erec’s mother was another poorly written character, this one in the “there has to be something else going on—oh, guess not” category. Erec himself vacillated between personalities and intelligence, at one minute incredibly bright and the next doing incredibly stupid things, such as the whole “I’m not supposed to tell anyone my name is Erec Rex so I’ll tell everyone my name is Erec Rex but I’d rather be called Rick Ross because that will solve everything” debacle.
It’s a shame because the world is fairly interesting, if the reader can get past the uninspired names and some other problems with the world of Alypium as a whole. And I liked the general plot, writing aside. But the writing and the characterization were so jarring and poorly done that I don’t think I will continue the series, even for the promise of dragons.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
The king’s eyes flew open. He looked at Erec in shock. Erec removed his hand, and King Piter’s eyes started to close.
“I need your help. My mother, June O’Hara, is a prisoner in King Pluto’s dungeons.”
King Piter looked confused.
“Do you remember my mother?”
King Piter tilted his head as if deep in thought. Erec held his mother’s picture out. The king looked at it and sniffed.
“Would you like a pomegranate?” Erec held one out.
The king wrinkled his nose as if it disgusted him, but Erec pushed it into the king’s hand. As their hands touched, the king said, “Erec?”