Dragons of the Watch 

by Donita K. Paul  

 

Though Dragons of the Watch is just one book in a series, it is easily read as a standalone novel, with the reader not feeling like s/he is missing anything without reading the other installments in the the series. It is a charming fantasy set in another world that will appeal to fans of C. S. Lewis's Narnia series or J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. Like The Hobbit,Dragons of the Watch is set in a world that is peopled by several different higher races that must learn to interact and work together for the good of their world.

 

Dragons of the Watch is targeted at younger readers, though adults will also enjoy the tale. It tells the story of Ellie, a girl who gets lost in a forgotten city, meets the man with whom she will spend her future, and ends up saving the children who were lost with the city when it fell under the spell of a wizard centuries earlier. The story of self-righteousness, an entire race's tragic fall, and redemption is told mostly through the eyes of this pleasant young woman, with an occasional shift to her friend Bealamondore's point of view.

 

It is not often that one finds a critique of the missionary enterprise in either Christian fiction nor in young adult fiction, but Dragons of the Watch touches on just such a notion. Even though the book centers on the idea that Ellie's goodness is expressed in her desire to lead others out of wrongdoing and into redemption, it does not ignore the temptation toward arrogance and self-righteousness that has often led the missionary agenda to be looked upon with disfavor by people of various cultures throughout the world. For Christians living in a postcolonial world, this critique is a welcomed expression of the added burden we add to our own lives if we fail to act with the humility that is central to the Christian gospel.

 

Even though Dragons of the Watch touches on such a heavy, sensitive idea, it is managed with a light touch, and is only discussed in the simplest of terms. That makes the tale all the more successful in that it is not heavy handed, but a story that is as generous in its judgements as it is enjoyable to read.

 

– Shelly Bryant © 2013