Diego’s Dragon Book Review

Hi, all, Sher here with an awesome middle grade fantasy with a Latino hero and a dragon. It’s hard to imagine a boy who wouldn’t want his own live dragon. Please, read on.

Diego's Dragon, Book One: Spirits of the SunDiego’s Dragon, Book One: Spirits of the Sun by Kevin Gerard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Although I had to read this book over the course of weeks during a move and other stressful events, I got caught up in the story’s emotion each time. Before the end, I cried three times. Tears alone don’t make me decide a book is great. But the reasons I cried went a long way—courage and sacrifice presented in a creative way.

In the short foreword, Kevin Gerard explains how promoting another fantasy series he wrote gave him the idea for this one. He gave a dragon statue to a boy as a contest prize, and a few weeks later thought about such a prize coming to life. He decided Latino boys needed more heroes, and I agree. Parents should note that there’s some minor swearing and violence, including domestic, handled in a realistic way that should increase awareness and help children realize they are not alone in having to deal with alcoholism or drug abuse in their families.

The hero of the story is eleven-year-old Diego Ramirez, who soon finds himself doubting his sanity when his prize dragon comes to life. Nobody else seems to notice. But there’s a pretty girl involved who Diego admires, and she knows something he doesn’t. What aggravated me most was head-hopping, reading other characters’ thoughts in a book started with Diego’s point of view. Although I doubt tweens will notice, the bigger issue was getting too much information through those thoughts. Most of those ideas would have better remained a mystery for longer than they did. Foreshadowing through dialog and events would have been enough.

As I read, I decided the book rated a 4 for adults because of the head-hopping, some other editing problems, and either a logic flaw or unclear explanation involving a sacrifice that didn’t balance. On closing the book, I realized the strong characterization and plot, including torn loyalties, sacrifice, and redemption, plus an ending that was anything but pat, more than made up for the problems. I couldn’t give less than 5 stars for the target audience, middle graders. If I could, I would give more than 5 stars for Latino tweens, especially boys, and to the author for his efforts in their behalf. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Booknificent Thursdays

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Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. The premise seems interesting, so I might have to pick up the book. Head hopping doesn’t bother me too much, but maybe I’ve been reading too many Artemis Fowl books.

    • I think you’ll like it, Ken. I think the humor makes up for head-hopping in the Artemis Fowl books. In Diego’s Dragon, it’s the unique spiritual journey that puts it over the top.

  2. Hmmm – I like Artemis Fowl – and thanks for great review, Sher 🙂

  3. I mentor a Latino boy I’ll be sure to recommend this to. Thanks for the preview.

  4. We definitely need more books, especially fantasy, with Latino characters. Although I don’t normally like head hopping, this sounds l like such an interesting premise, that I’ll definitely be checking it out!

  5. Hi Greg and Jenni — ..

    Thanks for commenting. I hope you’ll take a chance with it. Diego and Magnifico have fans from 9 to 90 years old. He is universally loved, which is more than I could have asked for.

    Please enjoy 🙂

    Kevin G

  6. I have twin grandsons who are 11 years old, heading to sixth grade next year. They have a kindle I gave them. We’re going to a lake house in Alabama in a couple of weeks for a kind of family reunion of 10 of us. We hope we get some rainy days to read!

    • Who needs a rainy day to read? I go on walks with my Kindle. That way it’s easier to stop reading when my legs get too tired. I bet those boys might have fun reading in a tree or hiding under the covers at night. Be sure to give them flashlights, LOL!

  7. I remember my Dad taking us to Wisconsin when I was a boy. We stayed in an old cabin covered on the outside by daddy long-leg spiders – we thought it was so cool!

    Hope your grandsons enjoy it 🙂

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