In the Shadow of the Dragon King by J. Keller Ford. 2016 Month9Books.
Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.
Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte. Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he’s some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He’s supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who’s too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.
With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.
Eric, squire to Trogsdill, and his friend overhear something they’re not meant to. Something that may endanger their kingdom forever. As they struggle to determine what to do with the information, they are tossed into the arrival of the king and queen of Fallhallow that have been gone for some time. He overhears another secret, something about himself that he tries to figure out but before he can, a dragon attacks his kingdom. The king and queen go missing and Trogsdill is accused of treachery by the mages.
Meanwhile, on Earth, David is wrapped up in some secrets of his own. His parents may be alive. His guardian has hidden this from him. Strangers begin to appear at his home and threaten him. He and the girl he loves, Charlotte, are thrown into Fallhallow and discover that he is the paladin, and meant to slay the dragon.
Why both Eric and David work to figure out what’s going on, Einar, the dragon attacks again. The kingdom of Fallhallow may be enslaved if David doesn’t become what he must and Eric doesn’t deliver the tool to help fight the dragon.
This is a fun adventure full of all the tropes we’ve come to love in fantasy but also some new like shadowmorphs. Shudder. The characters are exciting and a bit unpredictable. They are not quite the heroes they must be and that is refreshing to watch them grow into those roles. I highly recommend this book!
Four and ½ stars!