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City of Thieves
Cover of City of Thieves
City of Thieves
Battle Dragons Series, Book 1
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In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.Once, dragons nearly drove...
In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.Once, dragons nearly drove...
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  • In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.

    Once, dragons nearly drove themselves to extinction. But in the city of Drakopolis, humans domesticated them centuries ago. Now dragons haul the city's cargo, taxi its bustling people between skyscrapers, and advertise its wares in bright, neon displays. Most famously of all, the dragons battle. Different breeds take to the skies in nighttime bouts between the infamous kins—criminal gangs who rule through violence and intimidation.

    Abel has always loved dragons, but after a disastrous showing in his dragon rider's exam, he's destined never to fly one himself. All that changes the night his sister appears at his window, entrusting him with a secret...and a stolen dragon.

    Turns out, his big sister is a dragon thief! Too bad his older brother is a rising star in Drakopolis law enforcement...

    To protect his friends and his family, Abel must partner with the stolen beast, riding in kin battles and keeping more secrets than a dragon has scales.

    When everyone wants him fighting on their side, can Abel figure out what's worth fighting for?

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2021
    Thirteen-year-old Abel lives in Drakopolis, a massive high-rise metropolis built by humans and the dragons that they've domesticated for labor. After failing his Dragon Rider Academy entrance exam, Abel is sure he'll never be able to fulfill his dream of riding a dragon. But when he discovers his sister is secretly a kinner, or gang member, the world he thought he knew is busted wide open. Not only is his sister involved in an anti-fascist kin, one with progressive revolutionary ideals, but their brother is climbing the ranks of the Dragon's Eye police force; now, his older siblings are fighting on opposite sides of a growing war. Furthermore, Abel's best friend, Roa, and their favorite teacher are also secretly kinners, and they recruit him into the world of illicit dragon fights, leading to the book's brutal, climactic kin battle. After training extensively with a stolen dragon, Abel begins to question whether the domestication of Drakopolis' dragons is as benevolent as the history books say and whether kins are more complex than the simple right or wrong dichotomy he believed. These bigger questions are left open, but it is implied that they will be explored in future entries. This series starter's straightforward language, intriguing worldbuilding, and thoughtful, gutsy protagonist make it widely appealing. Roa is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, Abel's chronically ill father is unemployed, and most characters are White. An exciting, accessible romp with a hint of something deeper. (Fantasy. 9-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 13, 2021
    “Reckless, easily distracted, and afraid of heights,” Abel, 13, is secretly glad that he failed the Dragon Rider Academy Entrance Exam, though it means he can’t follow in the footsteps of his older brother Silas. But when Abel accidentally bonds with a stolen, “rare and valuable” dragon named Karak, he becomes a pawn of one of the dragon-riding criminal kins that dominate the technologically advanced city of Drakopolis, expected to train and fly on their behalf. With his implied white family—particularly rebellious older sister Lina—thoroughly entangled in a multi-faction struggle between the various kins and Drakopolis’s secret police, Abel must enlist his best friend, nonbinary veterinarian-in-training Roa, as well as Karak himself, to help save them all. London (Gold Wings Rising) establishes an absorbing semifuturistic society where technology and dragons go hand-in-wing, the latter used for everything from transportation to settling gang disputes high in the sky. Abel proves a quick-witted protagonist who copes well with the constant danger and unsettling revelations that invert his world. Fast-paced and adventurous, this series starter hints at a complicated, fascinating setting while leaving plenty to be explored in subsequent installments. Ages 8–12. Agent: Robert Guinsler, Sterling Lord Literistic.

  • School Library Journal

    October 15, 2021

    Gr 4-7-Drakopolis, a sprawling city in the sky, is home to humans and the dragons they keep. From the diminutive Educational Resource Dragons used for training to the huge Red-Bearded Long-Wing bus-toting dragon, dragons are part of everyday life. As are the kins, the gangs of rival dragon riders in the city who run entire neighborhoods. Abel has spent most of his life avoiding the kins, until he discovers a stolen dragon that his sister has left behind. And that's only the beginning as Abel is forced to confront the truth that his best friend Rao (they/them), his favorite teacher, and his sister are all kinners. To complicate matters, they are not all in the same kin; all of them are squarely on the opposite side of Abel's brother, an enforcer of the law with the Dragon's Eye (the police); and no one seems to be on the side of the dragons with Abel. The climatic kin battle at the end will have readers in suspense as Abel fights for the future of his dragon. This title is well paced and thoughtfully written. Most of the characters are white, or presumed white, and Abel's father is portrayed as living with a chronic illness. VERDICT Rich world-building, a complex main character, and plenty of suspense make this a solid purchase where action-packed fantasy is popular.-Jessica Caron, Bancroft Sch., MA

    Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Battle Dragons Series, Book 1
Alex London
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