D C Green, Dragon Apocalypse (City of Monsters #3), Ford Street Publishing, September 2018, 358 pp., RRP $19.95 (pbk), ISBN 9781925272680
The final instalment of the City of Monsters series, Dragon Apocalypse continues at the frenetic pace of Monster School and Goblin Mafia Wars. I would strongly recommend reading the prequels, as Dragon Apocalypse commences where Goblin Mafia Wars ended, and assumes some knowledge of the previous books.
Dragon Apocalypse brings together the multiple plots and quests of the first two books, focusing on the Dead Gang’s quest to find the dragon eggs and return them to the dragon Kalthazari, with the end goal of saving the world from apocalyptic floods! The pacing in the first two books was so rapid that at times I felt it detracted from the book as I had to go back and re-read, but this is significantly improved in Dragon Apocalypse. The smoother pacing allows for greater character development and satisfactory resolution of the multiple plotlines. Although I would describe the series overall as being a comedic adventure, the sophistication of the pacing, plots and character development move Dragon Apocalypse into a more dramatic coming-of-age genre than the earlier instalments.
In the earlier instalments, Prince Thomas (“PT”) was the sole narrator, but in Dragon Apocalypse other characters also narrate. This technique is very effective, assisting to bring together the multiple sub-plots and give insight into the motivations of other major characters. It also allows the reader to see what is happening in different locations, which is critical as there are several simultaneous locations for the first two-thirds of the book. It is a shame that feisty forest goblin Greta is not given a chance to narrate, but the inclusion of Erica’s narration humanises the previously inscrutable ogre.
All the characters undergo significant development in Dragon Apocalypse. However, Bruce (the fast-talking arachnid) continues to be undermined by his unique style of speaking – think sentences such as “How could any dude trust Franken, abominable midget? That wack-job carked Jaakie! Asterisk: not yet confirmed.” However, the target audience will probably better appreciate his slang! Bruce’s shorter outbursts can be amusing, but when he is allowed a longer monologue it can detract from the flow of the story if the reader must re-read to understand. Although City of Monsters is set thousands of years into the future, but DC Green incorporates current slang (along the lines of LOL and YOLO) and references to the present day (in the context of being ancient history) add a layer of humour.
The black and white illustrations (by Danny Willis) complement the story and reminded me to pause and regroup – I often found myself rushing to get to the next twist or piece of information.
References to an apocalyptic flood, inequal treatment of different species and types of government, could all be drawn upon in a classroom environment for further discussion. This book is recommended for ages 10+, but I would suggest parents or teachers read before recommending – some aspects of the plots have quite complex themes, and there are multiple deaths and violent scenes. The ending does leave an opening for a spin-off series so it will be interesting to see if DC Green goes down that route.
In my opinion, Dragon Apocalypse is the strongest of the three City of Monsters novels, and readers will find the finale satisfying and engaging. DC Green is available for school visits, signings and interviews, contact Ford Street Publishing for more information.
Reviewed by Jessica Dowling