Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons

Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons

By Author / Illustrator

Abi Elphinstone, Kristina Kister


Magical Realism

Age range(s)



Simon & Schuster




Paperback / softback




A magical NEW story filled with adventure, wonder and edge-of-your-seat excitement, set in a world of daring dragons and magical maladies by the best-selling author of Sky Song, Abi Elphinstone . . .

Rusty Fizzbang, vet to magical beasts, needs an apprentice. Ember Spark, looking for adventure, is his newest recruit - and together with an unlikely friend, Arno, she is sent to help a baby dragon whose parents have gone missing. But keeping magical beasts a secret isn't an easy task, especially with arch-villain, Jasper Hornswoggle, hot on their heels and keen to derail them... 

Find out more from author Abi Elphinstone, and read our Q&A with the author!

Praise for Ember Spark:  'A total masterclass in high-action, high-stakes, high-fun adventure.' Emma Carroll, author of Letters from the Lighthouse;  'Quirky and magical, this wonderful adventure proves what everyone should know - Abi Elphinstone is a writer to be cherished.' Phil Earle, author of When the Sky Falls;  'Ember Spark herself is a wonderful heroine - she's brave, curious and always up for an adventure.' Katie Tsang, author of the Dragon Realm series.  'I adored Ember Spark. Abi is a master storyteller . . . she's created a thrilling adventure fizzing with heart and magic and wonder.' Zohra Nabi, author of The Kingdom over the Sea.



Ember Spark is an ordinary girl who is always ready for an adventure to start. One day an adventure does start, and Ember is flung into an adventure more wild and wonderful than anything her favourite comic book heroine, Gutsy Wonder, could have imagined. Ember finds out that she is an apprentice vet for magical beasts, and she has a job to do!

Ember is a plucky heroine, dealing with her parents’ break up and clearly quite unhappy at the start of the story. This juxtaposition of real heartbreak and magical adventure works very well, though it might be a bit raw for some children. The book also touches upon some bullying behaviour from peers as well.  Ember and her companion Arno are lovely characters, almost, but not quite, upstaged by the menagerie of magical creatures they encounter.

I loved the idea that the magical beasts might need a vet! Kristina Kister has created a beautiful cover and internal illustrations and I particularly enjoyed the chapter heading pictures. Ember Spark and the Thunder of Dragons is a delightful and magical story, featuring an array of mythical beasts and marvellous experiences. There is just enough peril to make this book suitable for slightly younger readers than nine years.

I'm a sucker for great names and this book is full of them, not least Ember Spark herself, Rusty Fizzbang and the Swagger-Thump twins. The names set the tone of the entirely serious adventure, which is left on a bit of a cliffhanger at the end - hopefully to line up book two!

256 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


When characters in a story have names like Mrs Rickety-Knees and Rusty Fizzbang, you know that you are in for a rip roaring, imaginative adventure. Set in the tranquil village of Yawn, this is the riveting tale of feisty female protagonist, Amber, who is unexpectedly recruited to be an apprentice vet to a menagerie of mysterious beasts and mythical creatures.

Supported by her companion, Arno, Amber has to ride across the night sky in a magical bath tub in order to save the Loch Ness Monster and a dragon in danger of losing its scales if its broken heart is not mended. Amber's quest is not without peril as she is chased by the evil Jasper Hornswoggle who is desperate to seize and sell as many dragons as he can catch.

The blend of endearing and quirky animals, weird, wonderful (sometimes evil) humans and fast-paced action scenes all blend together to create a story that will have readers hooked from page one. Running through the story there are deeper themes - Amber is all about protection. Yes, she wants to protect the baby dragons, unicorns and odd little hamsters but she also desperately wants to protect herself from heartache. Amber's dad has left home and this is a life event that many young readers will relate to.

The impact of Dad's departure resonates through the story; Amber doesn't want to be part of a friendship group for fear that they will leave her, too; she recognises the ache felt by the baby dragon who has lost its parents. She has hardened her heart but as her adventures proceed, she learns to trust and to understand the importance of belonging.  Abi Elphinstone has got the balance just right - real life heartaches mixed with heartstopping adventure. Just perfect!

256 pages / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 7+


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