By Author / Illustrator
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
Before there were dragons, there were dinosaurs... Imagine a world in which the dinosaurs weren't killed by a meteor hitting the earth. A world in which dinosaurs have learned to speak. To dream. To wage war.
Eleri is an oryctodromeus, a small dinosaur raised in an underground warren. He dreams of becoming his herd's storyteller but when he saves an enemy soldier from a pterosaur attack, he is exiled to the Deadlands. To survive this scorched desert full of carnivores, he joins a herd of other young exiles, including a peppy stegosaur, a stoic sauropod, an irritable triceratops... and a mysterious spy. Can five young misfits save their warring kingdoms? Includes bonus content: a map and extra dinosaur facts.
Perfect for fans of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, How to Train Your Dragon and Percy Jackson.
See also The Deadlands: Trapped (Book 2).
The Deadlands: Hunted by Skye Melki-Wegner is a brilliant fantasy adventure story, perfect for upper primary aged readers and, of course, dinosaur lovers. The story is packed full of adventure, action, drama and survival that will hook its audience in seconds! The first one in a long series I hope!
The story centres around the dinosaurs of Cretacea and the battles between them. It is set in time after the Fallen Star, which brought death and despair, ash and toxic rain. However, some dinosaurs survived and, amazingly, learned to speak. Eleri, a young dinosaur, is banished for saving an enemy solider to Deadlands, which is a desolate place full of dangerous carnivores. He must join forces before he becomes prey!
I really like the hidden messages in this story of right and wrong behaviours, friendships, celebrating difference and finding a way to live in peace alongside one another. It would be interesting to explore and unpick these ethics and morals with any class. The book also has brilliant character information pages at the end of the story and information on the Dinosaurs of Cretacea at the beginning, including information about the mountain kingdom, carnivores of the deadlands and much more.
I would recommend this story for children aged nine and above. This book is obviously perfect for any dinosaur lover but would also be great as a class as it covers so many threads from adventure and action to friendship and celebrating difference. Thank you Skye, I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!
304 pages / Reviewed by Nathan Cox, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
That this book found a reader as soon as I was spotted reading it in the playground testifies to the power of its subject (dinosaurs) and the eye-catching cover. Delve beyond the cover, and one enters a world populated by a cast of characters including Eleri, Agostron (his brother and heir to the throne), Zyre, Tortha, Sorielle and Lerithon.
Some of these are helpfully pictured at the back of the book and the species to which they belong, likewise, described at the front. We are also told which part of Cretacea they inhabit and which side they're on. For this prehistoric world is beset with battles, fought between bitter rivals. Just who is a traitor is not always clear. And therein lies another attraction of this story (which grew on me, the more I read): that it twists and turns, leading us to question who the real enemies are - as Eleri and co must, if they and their homelands are to survive.
Skillfully written, packed with adventure and surprising in its depth, this is a book which deserves a place in the primary (or even secondary) school library. It could stimulate discussion around honour, peace-making and the integrity of leaders in the classroom; but I suspect that it will mostly be enjoyed for the simple pleasure of a good read.
304 pages / Reviewed by Jane Rew, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 9+