Choose Your Weapon takes place in both the small South Texas town of Hollingsworth and Erwingdon, a world inhabited by wizards, warriors, at least one sorceress and citizens. This world is threatened by fiery dragons and their allies.
This well-written debut book by Sarah Pratt creates a fine balance between the insecurities of Helen, a quiet, nerdy, Hispanic girl and her training in a dream fantasyland to become a courageous dragon-slayer. Helen is filled with angst and desires so familiar to many high schoolers. She must also face family prejudices. Her mom says, "You know I don't like you reading that stuff...They're for boys, not girls. If you keep reading them, everyone's gonna think you're weird." In Erwingdon, she is one of an unlikely team of four students, including two football players, from her own Hollingsworth high school.
What takes place in Erwingdon seems subtly connected to life in Hollingsworth. As Helen begins to mature and learns to skillfully maneuver in one world, she sees results in the other as well. One wonders what kinds of dragons are being slain. In both worlds, she is mentored by wise and kind adults and has difficulty with others.
Although there is a satisfying ending, Pratt leaves us with enough unresolved issues and questions for us to look forward to the next installment. What is the significance of sparrows? Is Jack a good guy or a bad guy? Where is her relationship with the young wizard going? Under what circumstances will the team meet the next dragon?
A satisfying story for both teens and adults.
Sarah Rodriguez Pratt grew up in McAllen TX and has a degree from Harvard and a MSLS for the University of Texas. She currently lives in Austin with her husband and dogs. Visit her blog.
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