Dragon Hunter by Nazam Anhar
Scholastic Australia, 2012. ISBN 978-1-74283-030-8.
Highly recommended for readers aged 10 to 14 years old. Baran is the reluctant hero in this story. An outsider in his own village of Shenzing, he is of mixed parentage, with a missing father and is shunned, teased and bullied. He has only his mother, younger sisters and the goats he tends as his companions.
Shenzing has been dragon free for so long most people believe that the dragon stories are only myths but dragons do return and cause untold destruction and death. The village must call on the legendary Dragon Warriors for protection.
In return for his help, Dragon Warrior Hajur requests a boy to train in his ways and that boy is Baran. A new life begins for Baran, where he must learn to accept himself, his fears and come to terms with past experiences and the mystery of his missing father.
This is an exciting, page turning story and the dragons are frightening in their relentless battles with humans. I am a dragon lover and particularly fond of the dragon Danzi in Carole Wilkinson's Dragon Keeper series. In these stories the dragon and his keeper are the heroes and the hunters are wicked. I have to come to terms with the role reversal in Nazam Anhar's book and I will confess to at times secretly barracking for the dragon, as nasty as it is.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and hope there are sequels as I would love to read more about these strong characters.
Fantasy and dragon lovers will enjoy this book.