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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Avis and the Call of the Kraken by Heather McQuillan

Keeping Humbert the dragon a secret is becoming harder for Avis. He is growing and wants to test his wings. One day, while flying over the ocean, they see a disturbance near an oil rig. The dragon's tear they use to communicate receives a strange signal - someone is using their frequency. Then a message comes: stop them. It’s a Kraken and she’s called Mother. Her offspring are bent on revenge because the drilling rig is wrecking their ocean home, and Mother needs help.

Avis and the Call of the Kraken is the sequel to Avis and the Promise of Dragons. While I haven't read the latter, author Heather McQuillan made it relatively easy to pick up the book and dive into Avis's world.  For those already familiar with Avis and Humbert, McQuillan doesn't slow the book down with detailed recaps. Of course, reading the first in the series would help, but it's not essential.

McQuillan creates a realistic and relatable character in Avis despite her unusual companion. She is likeable and fun, while also being flawed. Avis has a lot going on in her life - not least the fact she has a growing dragon to care for - and McQuillan is sure to capture the ups and downs of life. Avis makes mistakes, has regrets and gets overwhelmed, but she grows and reflects. 

The story is fast-paced, with lots of action and magic. Woven into that is a story about family and friendship, with justice and environmental themes included as well. The fact that McQuillan has managed to include all this while also writing a captivating story is a testament to her skill. I was swept up in Avis and Humbert's world, and younger readers, about upper primary or intermediate-aged, will be too. It would also make a great read-aloud for parents and caregivers, with short, snappy chapters and a story that rollicks along. 

Teachers will also enjoy this book, as there are many opportunities to explore the full breadth of the curriculum using the story as a jumping-off point.

Avis and the Call of the Kraken is a fabulous fantasy adventure that sparkles with magic, a brave heroine and a chocolate-deprived dragon.


Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell

The Cuba Press


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