Publication Date: April 21, 2013
It’s Christmas Day and 10-year-old Chris is really missing his best friend and former neighbor, Alex. When Chris goes up to his room to look for an e-mail from Alex he finds a link to a gaming website. When he clicks the link he’s pulled into the world of Distania where his friend Alex awaits. Mystery, magic and dragons may seem ominous but can the two young boys resist the potential of an adventure together?
The author, D.X. Dunn, gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
As readers of this blog will know, my 11-year-old Alex is very into dragons. She abhors novels that portray them as bad. She was delighted with Kali, the littlest dragon in Distania. In this first novel we don’t get a lot of the pretty little dragon, but what we do get is quality writing and plotting. The boys are in a new world and meet a new friend and aren’t sure what dangers they’ll face. What could seem more dangerous than a dragon! Of course, in the case of Kali, she’s as afraid of the boys as they are of her. Alex felt sorry for her. She is a lonely little beastie who doesn’t fit in with the dragons and yet the humans aren’t quite ready to trust her.
Chris and Alex are written very realistically as pre-teens. Both are a little intelligent for their age. When I questioned a 10-year-old building a private chat platform, Alex told me “the boys at school do that.” They’re very articulate in a way that if I were a 42-year-old person who didn’t have a child of the age would find a little unrealistic. In fact, this is what real 10-year-olds are like these days and their human world counterparts are going to love reading them.
The story itself is reasonably simple and very short. They boys meet up in Distania, an easily pictured place full of mountains and magically moving caves; they have a means to get home and they use those means to get home. They go back and learn a little more. This first novel is a delicious taste as to what will come in the rest of the series. Alex wants to read on and I want to read on. Dunn paints on ominous picture in off-handed information that speaks well for the rest of the series.
I would recommend An Unexpected Adventure (The Distania Chronicles) for grades 2-5. There’s not much in this first novel that will scare a younger child and, as Alex and I learned, “An Unexpected Adventure” is a perfect bedtime book to read in chapters. Not so heavy as to bring nightmares, but certainly one that will keep the child excited for the next installment.
If you have young children or generally like novels for young readers that are well written, pick up An Unexpected Adventure (The Distania Chronicles). For further reading check out my reviews of the two other books in The Distania Chronicles: An Unexpected Twist and An Unexpected Invitation. If I were making a list of Alex’s favorite books, An Unexpected Adventure (The Distania Chronicles) would come in toward the top of the charts.