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Dragon Games (The Books of Umber #2)

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,627 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
Master storyteller P.W. Catanese begins the Books of Umber trilogy with Happenstance Found—now available in paperback—when twelve-yearold Happenstance awakens in a cave with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Lord Umber and his companions rescue Hap, and the group sets out on dangerous and unusual missions that continue in Dragon Games.

Hap’s and Umber’s jo
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Aladdin (first published November 30th 2009)
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Jan 02, 2016 Autumn rated it really liked it
Another great example of how a book located in the juvenile section can appeal to all ages. There are tough moral decisions and (softly worded, but adult) violence which play out in this book. I found myself feeling like I was reading a real old school fairy tale, where wearing red dancing shoes could lead to a young woman having her feet removed from her body so that she would not die... still beautiful, but written so that discussions of the world might take place, not be hidden behind happy e ...more
Bill Tillman
Well what's ya know, finished another adventure of Lord Umber and Hap. They saved a kingdom, couple of damsels in waitress, a baby Dragon. Fought off man eating tiny men on a volcanic tiny island, and man eating crabs on another tiny island. Wow it just keeps getting better.
Eva Mitnick
Jan 08, 2010 Eva Mitnick rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
Despite the its title, part 2 only gets to the dragons towards the very end. The irrepressible Umber has learned that the kingdom of Sarnica, ruled by an upstart dictator and his cruel son, has managed to obtain a large cache of live dragon eggs, and Umber, being eternally and incurably curious, is determined to see the dragons that have hatched. On their sea voyage, Umber and his companions - not just the reluctant Happenstance, who craves safety and security, but also strong, truth-telling Oat ...more
OH MY GOSH. That ending. CLIFFHANGERRRRRRAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Can this series get any better?! The whole entire plot in Dragon Games got so thrillingly INTENSE, I nearly jumped outta my seat from all the excitement that was Happenstancing EVERYWHERE! (Lulz, Happenstance, get it?! ...Bad joke...) I probably looked like Umber in my giddiness too, while I was reading this epic masterpiece. Action and mystery are everywhere, and our same lovable characters in the first book continued to make me laugh out ...more
Ramon Luis
Apr 16, 2015 Ramon Luis rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 12, 2014 Aelvana rated it it was amazing
Lord Umber's penchant for adventure is enough to make everyone around him uneasy. Happenstance is no exception. So when Lord Umber accepts an invitation to go to the Dragon Games of a neighboring kingdom just to see his first dragon, Happenstance reluctantly follows. But clues are also surfacing about Happenstance's past, and his identity. Casper, the man who robbed Lord Umber's archives of anything related to the Meddlers, has sent pointers to his location. Happenstance is desperate for Casper' ...more
May 29, 2013 Chak rated it it was amazing
I started reading the first book in this trilogy ( Happenstance Found ) to check it out for my 9 year old son and really liked it. Dragon Games certainly did not suffer from the sophomore curse! It was even better than the first. It had almost non-stop action and a very interesting plot. In fact, I stopped reading for a while to tell my husband that I was really impressed with some of the imaginative ideas in the book (I don't think I'm giving anything away here, because I'm being purposely vagu ...more
Jan 13, 2010 Tripleguess rated it it was amazing
The second book of Umber is so much thicker and more involved than the first that it makes "Happenstance Found" (which I liked, btw) feel like a prologue.

Other books by the same author feed into this one as well, giving it a richer feel than the previous installment and offering the satisfaction of glimpsing favorite characters from other titles. I spotted people or story elements from at least three other novels and there's probably more I missed. I appreciated the further development of Arabel
Kristi Bernard
Sep 20, 2011 Kristi Bernard rated it it was amazing
Cantonese keeps readers engaged by leaving a trail of bread crumbs, or unanswered questions, as readers quickly turn the pages to see what will happen next. Following the adventure towards discovery. Happenstance is anxious to find out who he is in the first book of the Cantonese trilogy. Dragon Games, the second book in the series, begins with a gift from Nima. Traveling on a barge carried by a leviathan named Baroon, the motely crew travel to Umber's home, Kurahaven. Upon their arrival they di ...more
It's nice to have the final book in a trilogy when you've just finished the second book, but sad, too. The second book felt stronger to me than the first and now I really don't want the series to end. So, book two: Happenstance continues to enjoy his residence in Umber's palace, the Aerie. His peace is shattered by several events. The arrival of a traveler provides information about Hap's past life, but his abilities as a Meddler are still in questions. A glass globe brings a plea from Umber's f ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Lydia rated it really liked it
The continuing adventures of Hap, Umber and crew as they explore strange places, meet new people, find lots more ways to try and get killed and happen to start a rebellion.

Going into this book, I was slightly worried I wouldn't remember who was who as it's been awhile since I read Happenstance Found, but it all came back pretty well with minimal hints and recaps from the author, so it was all good on that front. Though I missed not having Sophie in the group, I did like the new characters, (vie

Jul 04, 2011 Angie rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fic, fantasy
I keep staying up too late to finish books. This was another one I couldn't put down.

I want to pop Prince Loden in the nose. I'm SURE he is going to turn out to be a bad guy.

Quotes I Liked

"Forgive me for disagreeing, Prince Loden, but I believe that ignorance is rarely blissful. Why not illuminate every mind we can, down to the humblest farmer? Who knows what geniuses might be flushed out with a little prodding, like birds from the brush? And that would serve you well, my princes. After all, the
Book two in the Books of Umber: After returning home from a rather stressful exploring trip with his guardian, Umber, Hap is hoping for some time to relax at home in Kurahaven. But this is not to be. Trouble in the royal family of Kurahaven plus an invitation to the Dragon Games being held in another kingdom make for a busy and adventurous time. While on his travels, Hap begins to learn more about his powers as a Meddler and about his past. Throw in some soul-eating crabs, a ship made of silk, a ...more
May 24, 2010 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Things are going along in Hap's life and it was good to get back to it and see what everyone was up to. Really, I missed Oates and his truthful ways. He's hilarious. What would the world be like if we were forced to tell the truth always? He sure gets the gang in a bind when they are invited to eat at an evil king's table. It's times like these when Umber's character is less bumbling, coffee-lover and more clever adventurer.

There were a bunch of new creatures, and not just dragons. In fact, I th
Oct 25, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it
Once again Umber is searching the world for all things strange and bizarre, faithfully accompanied by his close friends. Umber's curiosity leads them into many perilous places including a monster's lair, the kingdom of a brutal ruler, a ring of fire in the middle of the ocean, and a strange floating ship high up in the air. Young Happenstance learns more about his past but nothing becomes any clearer and yet he is beginning to get an idea of how to control his powers. Lord Umber's past is still ...more
Recommended Ages: grades 5-8

Happenstance would like nothing more than to stay in the comfort of the Aerie, Lord Umber's spectacular cliffside home, without having to worry about the secrets of his past -- or the undetermined role he must play in Umber's desperate mission.

But adventure beckons when Umber receives two mysterious messages. One is a desperate plea for help from Caspar, the man who stole precious documents from Umber's archives that could unlock the mysteries of Hap's powers. Caspar
We started out Dragon Games in the midst of another of Umber's adventures. Really it is fun reading what the gang get's into. In my opinion it was better than the first ^_^

We find out more about Hap and who he used to be and how exactly, Hap as we know him came to be. It was really good to see Hap find himself in this book, that is to say, you see him growing more confident. Of course all he really would like to do is go home to the Aerie, but as the story progresses we see him continue to come
Mark Buxton
Oct 28, 2015 Mark Buxton rated it really liked it
You should read the first book in the series to learn about Hap's character as a Meddler. Hap has no memory of his past, and this book presents some new information about his youth. Meddlers are able to change destiny, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. Oates is cursed to always tell the truth, so that creates some humorous situations, and some problems. Some things should remain secret! The book offers many strange creatures as characters. There are crabs that capture the souls of humans ...more
May 22, 2011 Valerie rated it really liked it
What an adventure-filled story!! Lots happening in this book - searching for sea-giants, a lost colony of "people" who fulfil every "command" of their new leader, with a catch, of course... mystical creatures, a tyrant king & his son... many new & exciting adventures for Umber & his ward, Hap. I really enjoyed the first book, but this was even better! I love it when a series gets better as you read through it! Definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a great adventure - Fun, fas ...more
Danie P.
Feb 01, 2010 Danie P. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books, y-a
I love this adventure/mystery/fantasy series. The first book Happenstance found chronicles the discovery of Hap, the main character in th book. In this book, aside from adventures that involves an island surrounded by erupting volcanoes who's residents will do anything you wish (but you can never leave the island), soul eating crabs and the rescue of dragon eggs and the overthrowing of an evil king, involves the discovery of who Hap really is and where he came from. The only thing I didn't enjoy ...more
May 21, 2012 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
An exciting and creative series. Love the characters and adventures. Can't wait to find out how Umber escaped the modern world with his laptop and what the fate will be of this future/old world.

A favorite quote (copied from another review): "Balfour emerged from the kitchen of the Aerie with a steaming pot of coffee, a pitcher of milk, and a plate of small, flat, round cakes, steaming hot and studded with dark spots.... 'Ah, if anything can lift a fellow's spirits, then it is what Balfour brings
Dec 14, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
Dragon Games by P.W Catanese is a fantasy book were Hap finds his brother and finds out what really happened to him. Then Hap and Umber go to a land with an evil king but they go to see the dragon games. After the games Umber takes the dragon eggs and a baby dragon so that he can set them free. So they take one of the warships and sail off. The king dies and the super evil prince sets off after them. Luckily they escape and and go back to Kurahaven and they all live happily ever after until they ...more
Sep 25, 2011 Dawn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, fantasy, gscba-2013
Happenstance, Lord Umber and Oates must leave their peaceful land of Kurahaven to embark on two very dangerous missions. The first is to save Casper, Lord Umber’s devious former assistant, from a terrible fate and the second is to rescue ill-gotten dragon eggs from the clutches of an oppressive kingdom. Along the way, Happenstance (Hap) discovers more about himself and the mysterious powers that he possesses. This action-packed, fast moving story is lavishly detailed and full of unexpected plot ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
I went into this assuming that it would be good, but not as good as the first, because sequels rarely are, but I was pleasantly surprised! I think I loved this more than the first book. The adventures Hap, Umber and Oates have are just so fun. P.W. Catanese fully developed this world and the characters in it, which makes it a thoroughly satisfying read. Normally, reading about mystical worlds and creatures that are extremely weird would be off-putting, but these are so finely developed that it w ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Phoebe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nanci
This is such a good fantasy series, memorable, original, and absorbing. Hard to find a juvenile fantasy of this caliber, too many books are Harry Potter wannabes and just don't stick in my head. In this sequel to Happenstance Found, Hap and his companions are off to the Dragon Games in Sarnica, but along the way they have a variety of fascinating adventures. Hap discovers more about his past and learns a bit more about his extraordinary powers as a Meddler. Can't wait for Book 3! Outstanding ser ...more
Oct 28, 2010 Carissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
This series was good enough that I was willing to read the print version of book #2 instead of waiting for the audiobook to come out (I'd listened to the first one). A quick read with very interesting characters and creatures. I do kind of wish that he had made his bad guys just a wee bit more complicated (they're pretty much pure evil baddies with malicious frosting on top), but I suppose you can't ask for super complex characters in most Juvenile lit. I look forward to an eventual book #3. I h ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Wickedshizuku rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tamora Pierce fans, Patricia Wrede fans, Young Adults
Recommended to Wickedshizuku by: Goodreads
As the first book, Dragon Games, starts out very slow. Though it quickly picks up, and you're off on a new a quirky adventure. I really like this author's writing style, it has a nice flow that doesn't break apart very often.


Just a warning: is that you have a cliffhanger ending. NNNNOOOOO!!!!
Rick Stuckwisch
Nov 24, 2015 Rick Stuckwisch rated it it was amazing
Well, we enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, and I believe the second was even better and more enjoyable. Really intriguing characters, a compelling story line, and engaging developments. Also reads very well aloud. I'd compare it favorably to a number of our well-loved favorite series, including the Beyonders by Brandon Mull, the Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan, Adventurer's Wanted by M.L. Forman, and the Unwanteds by Lisa McMann. Great reading and listening for middle-graders, but ente ...more
Sep 17, 2012 Asuka rated it it was amazing
Second book in the Trilogy. Once again, I absolutely love this series. The world the author created is so fantastic. I realize there is nothing new about the dragons, but somehow, I can picture this alternate world clearly, and I love all the magical abilities Hap the protagonist has. The "inventions" Umber creates are all reminiscent of Da Vinci. I personally don't think love interest adds to the story, but at least the girl I like is still in contention. Highly recommended to anyone who is old ...more
Dec 15, 2013 Ankitha rated it really liked it

This book was the best in the series so far. There were unexpected plot twists when we least expected it. For example "Umber...I think I know who Penny!". I really didn't expect Hap to think he was really Penny. At the end he was right. I also liked the ending it was a sudden stop and left me thinking I have to get the next book. I wish all the books had this ending it would definitely spice things up and make all the book a little more interesting and make all the readers a little mor
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The Books of Umber: Happenstance found; Dragon Games; The end of time 4 20 Jan 14, 2012 07:12AM  
Incorrect Page Numbers 1 7 Nov 20, 2011 09:48PM  
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P.W. (Paul) Catanese is the author of fantasy-adventure novels (published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster). His next novel, DONNY'S INFERNO, a supernatural adventure, will be published in early 2016.

A crisp style, fast pacing, interesting characters and vivid descriptions have made Catanese a favorite with everyone from reluctant readers to teachers to adults seeking a thrilling escape. His books
More about P.W. Catanese...

Other Books in the Series

The Books of Umber (3 books)
  • Happenstance Found (The Books of Umber, #1)
  • The End of Time (The Books of Umber, #3)

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“Enjoy yourselves. And Hap: Don't let Umber near the arrows and bows; he's liable to shoot himself in the nose." Dodd grinned and snapped the reins, and the carriage rolled away.
Umber sniffed. "One of his lesser poems. Come, Hap.”
“They didn't come to crush the city. They came to crush the hubris of its king."
"That must have hurt," Oates said. Umber pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Hubris means arrogance, you great buffoon.”
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