The Dragon Rider is an adventure fantasy novel by Cornelia Funke. The Thief Lord and Inkheart, two other novels by this author, became bestsellers and now Funke’s admirers can enjoy her next work by her. The Dragon Rider is a classical fiction novel. Simple linear narration makes the reading easy, while lively characters and twisted plot make it interesting. In the beginning of narration the novel is set in peaceful Scottish valley. Dragons, who live there are threatened by the invasion of men.
Firedrake, a young silver dragon is the main character of the novel. He starts his journey to find legendary Rim of Heaven, a place where dragons can live in peace. Orphan Ban, brownie Sorrel and homunculus Twigleg accompany him in his long and dangerous journey. They make a long way crossing Europe and passing Middle East in order to reach India. Together friends experience a lot of exiting adventures. They have to fight terrible artificial dragon Nettlebrand, who wants to destroy all dragons and reach magical Rim of Heaven.
Confrontation between Firedrake and Nettlebrand make the main external conflict of the story. Firedrake and his friends have also to fight giant eagles, wicked dwarfs and little elves. All bad characters of the novel are dark and evil and threaten Firedrake and his friends. Luckily, there are creatures, who are ready to help friends. Gain serpent, djinn and Professor Greenbloom help them to escape their enemies. All characters of the novel are interesting and unique. Each of them has something, which makes the readers care about his or her further fate.
Wit dialogues makes the reading easy and interesting. Despite the book is pretty long it is read quickly. Simple narration style makes this novel a page-turner and a very enjoyable read. The book is notable by the big number of characters and succession of episodes, where main characters meet different obstacles on their way to the goal. Fantastic places and events described by the author place the reader into wonderful imaginary world, where everything is possible and mysterious creatures live next to ordinary people.
The story is not only a description of Firedrake’s adventures. It is also a story of real friendship, self-sacrifice and achieving goals. Despite characters of the novel are imaginary creatures, they behave like humans and have same problems as people do. They suffer and laugh, doubt and look for important answers. The journey helps the main characters to discover inner strength and power. They learn to achieve their goals and care about the feelings of others. Orphan Ban finds friends he did not manage to meet among people.
Little dragon Firedrake destroys myth about evil dragons and proves that they can be kind and caring creatures, who hurt nobody. Even Sorrel, who makes fun of everything and everybody turns to be kind-hearted and caring creature. The value of friendship is one of the main themes of the novel. The author wants to readers to understand that all creatures can exist peacefully in the Universe. People and dragons, serpents and brownies, they all can coexist peacefully. Our planet is diverse and there is enough space for everybody here.
The value of human life and all creatures, which live on our planet, is another important message of the book. The main characters come to this realization by the end of the novel. In addition, they visit a lot of interesting places and discover a lot of important things about themselves. Corneila Funke wants her readers to know that any goal can be achieved if you have enough courage in your heart and true friends ready to help you.
Funke, Cornelia. , Dragon Rider, Published by Chicken House, 2004.