Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell

The Dragon of Cripple Creek

Author: Troy Howell
Publisher: Amulet Books

4 out of 5 stars

Tumbling. Falling. Down, down, down. You spin and roll down the chute wondering how you got into this mess. A scream escapes your lips and echoes off of the mine’s walls. Your hair streams behind you as the wind whistles past your face, causing tears to form in your eyes. Your glasses are whipped off your face and you think, Oh, great. Not only did I fall and lose my way but now I can’t see as well. However, that doesn’t seem to matter as it is pitch black and you can’t see around you anyway. You wonder when you will stop falling when suddenly you land on the floor with a loud thump! Everything hurts and you are scratched up and bruised. You think you might have twisted your ankle too, as it hurts even to move it. You don’t want to move, you don’t want to even get up. You wish you could just stay here, lying on the rocky floor, but you know that people will be looking for you and your family will be worried sick. I guess this is what you get for not paying attention to where you’re going.

This is exactly how Kat Graham feels as she tumbles down, head over heels, deeper into the mine. She didn’t mean to, it kind of just happened. It might have helped though if she hadn’t strayed away from the tour group, but that’s not important right now. What matters is that Kat is lost and afraid and her always-present confidence is slipping as she suddenly doesn’t know what to do. She’s all alone.

Little does Kat know that there is more to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine than she first thought. Deep down there lives a mystical creature who once used to roam the earth with many others of his kind. Hidden below the surface is a dragon. The very last dragon on Earth to be more specific. That dragon is Ye, a lover of words, who is nearing the end of his time here on Earth. At first Kat can’t believe her eyes. Maybe she really does need her glasses that she dropped earlier. But Kat comes to accept the fact that Ye is real, though he might not be for much longer. With the help of Ye, Kat is able to make it out of the mine alive with an amazing story to tell.

But Kat got more than she bargained for. After sneaking a nugget of gold right from under Ye’s nose, she accidently drops it, and that is when the questions and speculations start. Is that what Kat was after all along? How will she explain herself when all fingers are pointing at her? And what about Ye, will he be safe now that a gold rush is in the making once again? Troy Howell reveals all, in this glittering adventure of right and wrong and what one must do versus what one wants to do in, The Dragon of Cripple Creek!

This book was a fun and exciting adventure, and I am glad that I went along for the ride! The Dragon of Cripple Creek is not your average tale, with dragons, gold, the wild west, and a curious girl named Kat all thrown in. Troy Howell created vivid images in my mind that portrayed exactly what was going on. The Dragon of Cripple Creek was given to my by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, as an uncorrected proof for review.* Thank you so much Amulet Books! This is a wonderful read that will tease the imagination of young readers everywhere. I highly recommend it for kids and teens alike, as it will bring out the inner child in everyone.

I loved how fresh this novel was. The Dragon of Cripple Creek mixed dragons with the wild west, and it was nice to see the two of them together. This was definitely a new take on dragons in general and I liked it. As I read the book, I found out more and more what dragons have to do with gold. I was astonished to find out the truth of what gold really is, and how this presented many new problems for Kat as she grappled with her own emotions as well.

Even though there is a fantasy side to The Dragon of Cripple Creek, there is also a very real and relatable side to it as well. Kat’s mother is in a care home, as she has PVS, persistent vegetative state. Ever since the accident Kat feels very alone and lost at times without her mother, and she doesn’t know what to do. Her family has had to sell everything, and is essentially homeless. To Kat one nugget of gold could solve all of their problems, but she knows that’s not the right thing to do. Kat had to struggle with herself many times throughout this book, but she always tried to stay true to her mother as well. For one so young, it was thrust upon Kat to deal with all of these family issues so suddenly.

The Dragon of Cripple Creek felt dragged out at times after the initial story had passed. This book was on the longer side, and I felt that it could have been split into two novels to provide more suspense. Maybe, the book could have even ended earlier and would have left me wondering wistfully if Kat would be alright. However, it was nice to see what happened to Kat and Ye even after the craze for gold had died down.

All in all, The Dragon of Cripple Creek was a wonderfully written tale of one girl’s story as the whole world suddenly has its eyes on her. Join Kat, as she tries to explain herself, but not reveal her newfound discovery of Ye in, The Dragon of Cripple Creek!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

*I received this novel from Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams.  I received The Dragon of Cripple  Creek as an uncorrected proof in exchange for my honest review.  This book comes out April 1, 2011.  Thank you so much Amulet Books! 

Check out Troy Howell's website at
The Dragon of Cripple Creek is available from Amazon here.


  1. What a unique idea. I don't think I've ever read a book that combined dragons and the wild west, but it sounds good!

  2. Love dragons! Combined with the wild west you say? How odd but interesting!

  3. Small Review- Haha it is good! It was a very fresh idea, but I think the dragons and the wild west worked well together.

    Aylee- It was definitely very interesting, but the two worked together perfectly! It makes even more sense when you find out the truth about dragons.

  4. Wow, this sounds awesome! Unusual and awesome! Brilliant review!

    Oh, and: Peeta's the best! And I've been lovin' Hunger Games so far! And thanks for letting me know about Through her Eyes. Now I can see what it's really like! :)

  5. Thanks so much!

    Haha, no problem, and I'll let you know as soon as I put up Through Her Eyes! Glad you're enjoying The Hunger Games!

  6. The cover looks pretty cool for this book and that certainly is a lot of different topics to intertwine. It sounded like a good book overall and I liked your review a lot! Congratulations on getting a book to read from the publisher! :)

    -Sandra from

    And thanks for sharing your opinion on Flush! I was worried I should've picked Scat after hearing some other opinions, but I bet all three of those books will be some of my favorites. (^_^)

  7. Thanks so much for stopping by! The cover was quite intriguing and blends the theme of dragons, the wild west, and gold nicely. I was so excited to receive this book from the publisher! Again, thank you so much Amulet Books!

    I can't wait to hear what you think of Flush! It really is a great book, as is many of Carl Hiaasan's other books, but Flush stands out from the rest. I hope you read Scat too!

  8. Thanks, T.B., for your interest in my book and sharing your thoughts. I value the opinions of my readers. You're providing a great resource here.

  9. Thank you so much for stopping by! It was a pleasure to read and review your wonderful book! So glad my review is of help!


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