The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart is another MG novel with a fantastically vivid use of food – this time, chocolate rather than the buns of Baker’s Magic!
Book: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
Read before: No.
Ownership: On my shelf, but I’m not sure how long it’s been there!
First of all, let’s talk about that beautiful cover! Freya Hartas, the illustrator, has done an amazing job capturing the exuberant feel of this book, and the shiny silver foiling on Aventurine’s scales is just gorgeous! I love the looks on both the faces of the dragon and the girl. You can’t always judge a book by a cover, but this fun, vibrant illustration is just perfect. It makes me wish this was fully illustrated all the way through – I would love to see the bustling chocolate shop, and the market, and so many other scenes. Each chapter heading has a different black and white sketch though, which is really cute.
Aventurine is such a great character – she’s stubborn, feisty and wholly enjoyable. But she’s also a hard worker and a good friend. The way she talks herself into Marina’s kitchen is so funny to read. It’s really heartwarming to watch her settle into human life and realise that there is nothing wrong with her for being exactly who she is. On a side note, I really love gem names for dragons (and princesses)!
The pace is fast, and the writing is witty. Aventurine adjusting to human customs is cause for much snarky fun, and there’s a nice slice-of-life feel to the chocolate house portion in the middle of the book, which stops the story from ever dragging. The conclusion is very satisfying, but I’d happily just read books upon books about Aventurine learning to make chocolate perfectly. You can almost taste the spices she adds and the richness of the chocolate. I love the idea that dragon like their hot chocolate with a kick of chilli pepper!
This is another MG book that ticks all my boxes – dragons, female friendship, found family, snark, and tasty atmospheric description. I can’t wait for the sequel, The Girl with the Dragon Heart, which is out on August 9th in the UK – the cover for that is stunning, too!
Five of five cats for this delicious treat.