8 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Title: The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart

Author: Stephanie Burgis

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

Publisher: Bloomsbury US/UK
Publication Date: February 9 2017 / May 30 2017
Hardcover: 249 Pages

Dragon with Chocolate Heart UKDragonChocHeart_cata

Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest dragon there is. And she’s ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human. But when the human she finds tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, Aventurine is transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw.

But she’s still the fiercest creature in the mountains — and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is get herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she’ll be conquering new territory in no time…won’t she?

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Review Copy from the Publisher

Format (e- or p-): paperback

Review

Aventurine is a fierce and brave dragon but still a very young, coddled one. Frustrated with her family’s overprotection (and her perfect older sister’s condescension for Aventurine’s lack of true calling), she decides to prove herself. She leaves the safety of her family’s mountain cave and takes off one day to hunt what is considered to be the most dangerous prey: a human.

What she did not expect was to immediately find—and fall in love with—the smell of… chocolate. Luxurious, deliciously smelling hot chocolate that is cooked by a puny, little human who turns out to be one of those elusive food mages and who tricks her into drinking what ends up being enchanted hot chocolate. Aventurine is then transformed into one of the feeble humans: a girl with no fire, no wings, and no claws.

Without any other option but to try and fit into human society, Aventurine sets out to the nearest town to find a job. And now that she has found her true calling, she knows exactly what she wants to be: a chocolatier apprentice.

This is the beginning of Aventurine’s new life and what happens next is a delightful, funny, heart-warming romp as Aventurine needs to find a way of living as a human whilst still being a dragon-at-heart. From finding a new job (and clothes! and shoes!) and trying to fit in and adjust to a new existence among humans and their very strange customs, this novel follows Aventurine in the pursuit of her dream.

In the tradition of the best middle grade storytellers—such as Diana Wynne Jones, Catherynne M Valente—The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is a story with multiple layers. Hot-tempered and fierce, Aventurine experiences loss, anxiety, and fear just as she has to deal with questions of power and identity and to find a new family and friendships. It’s in the bond created with her newffound, human family that she finds succour when she can’t contact her dragon family; and it’s in her growing friendship with another fierce and clever girl named Silke that she finds the courage to be herself: both dragon and girl. And when things get tough, just like a dragon would, Aventurine needs to protect and preserve her treasures.

I am more than happy to recommend this delicious, charming book to both kids and adults

Rating: 8 – Excellent

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9 Comments

  • Katrina
    February 21, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    This sounds perfectly delightful! Speaking of little girls with the hearts of dragons, I’d recommend Ursula Vernon’s Summer in Orcus, which has recently been released in (non-serialized) ebook format. I don’t think you two have ever reviewed any of her work, and I think you’d really enjoy her work. She also publishes as T. Kingfisher, for books intended for older audiences. I routinely quote from The Raven and the Reindeer, a queer retelling of The Snow Queen: “Words are like fish and you catch them and you get to keep them forever.” -a magical large talking otter.
    I’m going to go make some hot chocolate and think about being a dragon now.

  • Jordan
    February 21, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    This sounds wonderful! I love finding imaginative, exciting picture books and this sounds lovely. 🙂 Great review!

  • Katy K.
    February 21, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I’m so very, very much looking forward to this coming out in the U.S. – I was so delighted to see your review!

  • Rhiannon
    February 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I’m looking forward to reading this and also gifting this.

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    February 24, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    […] just a few days ago, Ana at The Book Smugglers gave it a really wonderful review, calling it “a delightful, funny, heart-warming romp” and saying “I am more than […]

  • The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis – Semicolon
    September 25, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    […] The Book Smugglers: “In the tradition of the best middle grade storytellers—such as Diana Wynne Jones, Catherynne M Valente—The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is a story with multiple layers. Hot-tempered and fierce, Aventurine experiences loss, anxiety, and fear just as she has to deal with questions of power and identity and to find a new family and friendships.” […]

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    October 16, 2017 at 6:56 am

    […] never actually added this book to Mount TBR when I saw Ana’s review on The Book Smugglers, but I did mentally make a note of it. And spotted it and ordered it for work. And it came in last […]

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