Realm Breaker is the third book in Laurie McKay's Last Dragon Charmer series (Harper Collins, March 7, 2017). The books tell of a young prince and a young girl who's a magic user, inadvertently exiled from their magical homeland to Asheville, North Carolina. There Caden and Brynne found that Ms. Primrose, the principal of the middle school they were forced to attend by their new foster mother is actually a powerful dragon, of uncertain temper, presiding over a staff consisting of banished villains.
At the end of the second book, the leader of the villains, a truly sinister fellow, has overthrown the dragon principal and is setting up a dark magical spell that will allow him to access the magical realm and take control there too. Caden is naturally determined to stop this evil plan. But though he has allies in Asheville, and though he has magical gift of his own for persuasively charming speech, it's not at all clear whether he'll be able to do so. Especially since the dragon ex-principal is being pushed toward her own dark side....
This series is tremendously fun in general, in its lighthearted use of High Fantasy conventions mixed with the real world of Asheville, where Caden is in foster care. And this third book, not having to set the stage, spends less time playing with Caden's confusion about life in the real world (though he's still confounded at times), giving McKay room to up the ante of the plot. There's lots of suspense and danger, making for truly gripping reading!
The world building of the fantasy realm and its inhabitants is strengthened here, adding interest, and the relationship between Caden and his older brother (banished to Asheville under a cloud of suspicion) is also given more depth. Though there are lots of great character interactions, it's especially fun to see Caden gingerly negotiating with Ms. Primrose, who is one of the most diverting dragon characters of the current middle grade fantasy scene!
Fans of the series will not be disappointed, and younger middle grader aficionados of magical mayhem (the 9 to 11 year olds not ready for YA) should seek the books out post haste! Here's my review of the first book, Villain Keeper, and the second book, Quest Maker. Realm Breaker builds on the strengths of these two, making for very good reading indeed! This installment ends at a good ending point, but there are lots of questions and unresolved issues left, so hopefully there will be more to come!
final note-- I want to share the link to the Goodreads page for the book, because Ms. Yingling's review there gives a lovely detailed summary, and because she loved it, though she is not naturally drawn to middle grade fantasy, so I think her admiration for the series is about as shining a testimonial as one can get....
disclaimer: review copy received (with great happiness) from the author