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Lee Newbery’s first book was about the last firefox so it only makes sense that his second book would be about the first shadowdragon. Once again, the citizens of Fargone need help, and they’re turning to Charlie the Great. However, Charlie isn’t feeling so great. Even though he managed to defeat the terrifying Grendilock, he’s still being bullied at school and isn’t feeling his inner fire anymore. Will he be able to reignite it and save Fargone from the threat of Draig? Or will the darkness win? Find out in The First Shadowdragon by Lee Newbery.

[Warning: My review of this book contains some spoilers!]

New magical friends and old pals in The First Shadowdragon

Charlie is feeling kinda low. Life with a baby sister and a firefox isn’t easy. Then his friend Teg reappears looking for his help. The old king of Fargone is dead. That makes it better for the magical creatures that he used to hunt, but a new threat has risen.

Or rather, an old one has reawakened. Draig, a creature of darkness, has slumbered in a mountain for centuries. But now it has woken up and is stealing the life force from Fargone. If it isn’t stopped, the whole country will be destroyed!

So naturally, Teg turns to Charlie. He defeated the Grendilock, surely he can handle the draig. Charlie is less sure that he can handle the draig, but is willing to try. Until his Pa puts his foot down. He says that under no circumstances will Charlie be running off to a magical land to fight a deadly monster. Period. End of story. Teg is disappointed but heads off to Fargone to come up with another plan. Charlie is both saddened and relieved by his Pa’s response. On the one hand, he was terrified at the thought of facing the draig. On the other, he feels bad not helping the creatures of Fargone.

The First Shadowdragon by Lee Newbery Penguin Random House

A sneaky plan unfolds…

Charlie has resigned himself to a nonmagical break from school when things get weird (again). His baby sister Edie is missing! And in her place is a giant acorn. Then Cadno, the firefox, grabs the acorn, buries it, and takes a nap on top.

While his dads are busy freaking out trying to figure out what to do, Charlie realizes that Teg must have taken Edie to force him to come to Fargone. He shares his thoughts with his dads and they agree. Charlie, his dads, and his best friends Roo and Lippy, prepare to travel to Fargone and save her.

Then things get even weirder. The seed that Cadno buried begins to rapidly grow. A giant bud opens, and out comes a…deer? But not just any deer, a bright green deer that grows flowers in its footprints. Lippy names her Blodyn, Welsh for deer. The group decides that Blodyn will have to come along with them. So the now the quite large group of Charlie, his two dads, Lippy, Roo, Cadno, and Blodyn all head off to Fargone, to save Edie. 

They find Teg and Edie rather quickly. Edie is fine, and Teg is sure that now Charlie will be able to hunt down the draig and save Fargone. But his Pa hasn’t changed his mind one bit. In fact, understandably, kidnapping his daughter has made him even less inclined to help Teg.

But Teg still has a plan. After insisting it’s too late for them to travel back to their world that night, Teg offers to let the group stay in his camp. But he splits the group up, having Edie and her dads sleep in one area while Charlie, Lippy, Roo, Cadno, and Blodyn sleep elsewhere. An elsewhere that just happens to have all the supplies they need for an adventure.

The three friends and their two magical creatures escape from camp to save Fargone, although Charlie still isn’t sure that he’s up to the challenge. Hopefully, he’ll feel more confident by the time they find the draig.

The First Shadowdragon wonderful sequel to a great book by Lee Newbery

Newbery’s first book, The Last Firefox, is a wonderful story. Charlie is a real “every kid” who offers kids an imperfect hero that they can relate to. In The First Shadowdragon, Charlie keeps that imperfect relatability. He has saved the day in the past, but he downplays his actions, giving most of the credit to chance. Luckily, his friends know how amazing he really is and are there to support him until he can see it, too. 

In the first book, Charlie was an accidental hero, a boy in the wrong place and at the right time. In this sequel, he is a reluctant hero, he doesn’t think he can be a hero, but he’s willing to try because someone has to do it. These heroes are the best because they feel the most like us.

Most of us aren’t highly trained operatives who can confidently beat the monster and save the day. But most of us can see ourselves getting dragged into a situation and then doing the right thing, even if we think we can’t. It’s the same appeal that heroes like Harry Potter and Odd Thomas have. Normal(ish) people who end up being capable of extraordinary things under pressure. It’s always nice to find another hero like that. 

And I’m excited to say that there’s another sequel coming soon, The Lost Sunlion . Set to release on May 16th, 2024 (According to the Penguin Random House website), Charlie and company will again be traveling to Fargone to stop whatever is causing some catastrophic weather in Charlie’s world.

I have to say that I really love how Charlie’s world and Fargone are so intertwined. It’s like Fargone is Wales in a different universe. It’s really fun and makes for some exciting possibilities in future stories. Which I will be happily reading, and which I recommend you do too!

My Rating: 8/10

The First Shadowdragon by Lee Newbery is available now! Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord if you plan on reading this exciting sequel!


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Luna Gauthier

I've always been a bookworm and fantasy is my favortie genre. I never imagined (okay, I imagined but I didn't think) that I could get those books sent to me for just my opinion. Now I am a very happy bookworm! @Lunagauthier19 on Twitter

Luna Gauthier has 223 posts and counting. See all posts by Luna Gauthier