Holly is desperate to be sleuthing with her partner-in-solving-crime, dragon Dirk Dilly, but instead she’s stuck at her exclusive boarding school for children of the rich and famous. She’s determined to escape, until she meets Callum, the son of the Prime Minister, who claims he was kidnapped by dragons a year ago and hasn’t been the same since. And when Dirk’s own investigation into dragon activity brings him to the school, the two cases collide. What if Callum isn’t as crazy as he seems?
Having read some of Gareth P Jones’ books before, I was fully expecting lots of adventure and coolness from Dragon Detective: School’s Out. And it didn’t disappoint.
This book is the ultimate in middle grade adventure. Its a modern day boarding school tale of a girl who has befriended a dragon and is looking to escape the mudane life of the school she’s forced to attend. Holly is a ‘bad girl’ but in all honesty, she’s just bored, desperate for attention from her father who replaced her mother so soon after she died, and lonely.
I picked this book for review because it sounded fun and it was. I knew it was the second in the series but often with middle grade, this doesn’t matter. There were a lot of references back to what happened in the first book to remind those who have read it or point out things that matter to those who hadn’t. Like I suspected, its not like you are missing any actual story that’s important if you don’t read the first… but I am sad I don’t know the story of how the two main characters got to know each other. I reckon I’ll be picking it up at some point!
Dirk is brilliant, and the whole idea that there are dragons all around us, but hidden in plain sight is the best. I would love that! As a detective Dirk thinks that he can uncover secrets and this is what leads him and Holly on their adventures, but I get the feeling, the secrets turn out to be bigger than expected a lot. Its the perfect story for any adventure seeking 9-12 year old and I found it fun to read too.
The secret that Dirk and Holly uncover in this book is not only terrifying but really cool too. There are crossovers between the human and dragon world that are really interesting and I found the stuff with the professor, and Callum and Vainclaw pretty intriguing.
Mrs Klingerfilm was probably one of my favourite characters and definitely deserves a shoutout. I love it when such minor characters turn out to be so interesting and the author did a great job of that here.
If you have any fantasy loving, adventure seeking middle grade readers you should definitely treat them to this series. I have a feeling it’ll be a favourite of theirs!
Dragon Detective: School’s Out was published by Little Tiger on 11th June 2020. My copy was sent form the publisher in exchange for an honest review.