Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles by Gloria Oliver is a marvelous read! The author has created a boarding school
in a magical world that could be the envy of Hogwarts.
The Dragon Knights Guild, to which 15-year-old Talia is apprenticed, trains not only adventurous Dragon Knights,
humans who bond with dragons and serve villages across the seven continents, but all manner of practical trades
(cooks, weavers, teachers, etc.), healers, spies, judges, and administrators. There are other guilds that teach
practical trades, too, but the Dragon Knights Guild is the most prestigious and powerful. Young Talia is thrust
into this world without her consent when her parents choose for her and arrange for her education. Here, though,
Talia finds more than a mere school. She finds new friends, magic, and dragons—or at least one special
dragon, Clarence, who is cross-eyed and clumsy and not properly bonded to Kel, a squire, who seems not to have
a proper place, not quite student and not quite a full dragon knight. Because of this pair, Talia is thrust into
humiliation, danger, and unexpected acts of kindness. And, she ultimately†finds answers to her place in life.
This book is as carefully written, as character-rich, and as adventurous as anything J. K. Rawlings has
produced, and Gloria Oliver creates a framework for more adventures at the Dragon Knights Guild. Though the
author has not mentioned that this might be the start of a new series, it should be. She has carefully explained
the history and current administration of the guild in detail, which would seem superfluous to this story, if
others weren't forthcoming. I personally would hate to see these characters and this world disappear after only
one book. This is fantasy at its best.
Also, I think that the title, Cross-Eyed Dragon Troubles, does the story a disservice. On first glance,
I expected a book that was much lighter and had a lot of comedic situations, in the realm of Karina Fabian's
Vern, Dragon P.I. stories. †This wasn't the case. Though there are humorous moments, the book is serious
adventure that could become a classic. More please, Ms Oliver.