The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart was a glorious read, pairing dragons and chocolate in a unique story that has quickly become one of my favourites.
[The following may contain some spoilers!]
Adventurine is a young dragon in search of her passion. Her brother has his philosophy and her sister has her poetry, and Adventurine feels like a disappointment. Determined to prove to her family that they underestimate her, she sets out to catch a dangerous prey: a human. But her chosen victim is a food mage who tempts her with the most delicious thing she has ever tasted- chocolate- and he enchants it so that it turns her into a defenceless girl. Forced to fit into human society, Adventurine begins her quest to live out her delicious, new-found passion and become an apprentice chocolatier.
The plot of this novel moves forward so satisfyingly, never too fast or too slow. Something happens in every scene and it builds up beautifully to the final resolution. The characters are vivid and teach Adventurine some valuable lessons about friendship, identity and courage. Silke proves to Adventurine that girls can be as fierce as dragons and Marina shows her that nothing is more important than work well done.
Adventurine has to work out how to be both dragon and girl and this comes together in the most exciting and unlikely way. I love how she keeps her dragon fierceness, is constantly puzzled at how humans do things and how she comes to see her new life as a treasure to be guarded. Adventurine’s first taste of chilli chocolate brings her two identities together in a fireball of flavour and was very fitting for the storyline.
But a sudden, startling wetness pricked at the back of my eyes. I’d thought I would never feel that heat in my throat again. I’d thought I’d lost my flame forever.
The description of the intricate process of chocolate making and the different flavours was one of the best parts, making the book mouthwatering and authentic. Reading it took me on an adventure like no other, so much so that it was refreshingly difficult to guess where the story might lead.
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is a delicious middle-grade novel that I can’t wait to recommend! The Girl with the Dragon Heart, which stars Adventurine’s friend Silke, will be published in 2018. Read more about Stephanie Burgis and her books on her website, here.