Published Sep 2011
Format paperback, pp 448
The sixth and penultimate title in this bestselling fantasy sequence that started with The Fire Within, followed by Icefire, Fire Star, Fire Eternal and Dark Fire.
Chris d’Lacey’s wonderful storytelling takes us on a journey with familiar characters – in an unfamiliar place. Evil Aunts, intriguing firebirds and a dangerous universe await in another action-packed, compelling story.
Fire World could almost stand on its own in the Last Dragon Chronicles world. We’re thrust into an alternate reality where humans can ‘imagineer’ objects, plants and animals from their thoughts. David, who we discovered did not seem to have come from anywhere on Earth in the last book, is a child with potent abilities, which means he is a risk to the Higher, a formless entity that rules Co:pern:ica. He is sent away to a librarium while counsellor Strømberg (sharing the same name and curiosity as the scientist who send David to Antarctica in book three) along with his father, Harlan, try to discover what it behind David’s nightmares.
One of the most engaging elements of the alternate reality is the correlation between the characters from the world of Co:pern:ica and those from Earth. D’Lacey starts by preserving a few names (David, Strømberg, Liz) so we can immediately identify we’re still in the world of the Last Dragon Chronicles. He then introduces textual differences, such as the spelling of ‘minit’ and Co:pern:ica, so we know we’re in a different world. Then he makes it slightly harder to guess which Co:pern:ican characters are alter-egos (for lack of a better word) of those on Earth. He also keeps a few surprises right until the end (or perhaps I’m just not observant enough).
Harlan is a very interesting character. He is David’s father on Co:pern:ica (where Elizabeth Pennykettle’s alter-ego, Liz, is his mother). On Earth, David seems to have no parents – though Liz acts as a surrogate mother to him – and Lucy has no father. Enter Harlan, devoted husband and scientist whose research is the catalyst for great changes in their world. All of the characters have had such important roles to play in the Dragon Chronicles so far, it’s almost fitting that a new (but still just as important) character gets to shine.
Fire World deals with very high concepts, but if there’s ever the risk of being overwhelmed by the complexity of time, vortexes (or is it vortii?) and alternate realities, D’Lacey is quick to show that it’s okay. The characters don’t understand everything fully, and sometimes they just frown and pretent – small quips that make them just as human as anyone, even though they aren’t from the world we know.
Cover and summary source: http://www.hachettechildrens.co.uk.