A Dash of Dragon

As the youngest master chef in her prestigious academy's 300 years of producing heroes, artists, scholars and chefs, 13-year-old Lailu Loganberry has a dream: to run a restaurant that sells monster cuisine, food made from "mystical" beasts like kraken and batyrdactyl that she herself has hunted and cooked. To achieve full Master Chef status, she needs to complete an apprenticeship, but the only person who agrees to mentor her is a has-been chef named Slipshod. Lailu's initial faith in Master Slipshod begins to weaken when she learns that, to pay for the restaurant's opening, he has made a dangerous contract with a loan shark named Mr. Boss. And once they've entered Mr. Boss's shady world, the doors open wide to a gaggle of other disreputable and deadly characters, including counterspies, nasty elves and Lord Elister the Bloody, king's executioner. Add to the pot Lailu's nemesis, wealthy classmate Gregorian LaSilvian, who is garnering all the media attention with his restaurant; Vahn, a handsome, cocky hero-in-training who consistently calls the star-struck Lailu by the wrong name; and best friend Hannah, who is having a little trouble with her habit of "re-homing" valuable items from elves and other wealthy families, and you have a stew that rivals Lailu's batyrdactyl soup with mountain dragon flavoring.

A Dash of Dragon, by sisters Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski, is fast-paced, funny and chock-full of action. Lailu is a brilliant chef, a brave and skilled hunter and a savvy business owner--but she is still very much a 13-year-old, whose curses include "What the spatula?" and, when she's really upset, "Butter knives!" Absolutely charming. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Powered by: Xtenit