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The Fire Within

(The Last Dragon Chronicles #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  28,071 ratings  ·  1,639 reviews
David's new lodgings have a magical atmosphere...
Paperback, 282 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Watts Publishing Group (first published September 27th 2001)
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Ava The squirrels were added for the character building in the first book, as well as the further exploration of the idea that Gadzooks can control the ou…moreThe squirrels were added for the character building in the first book, as well as the further exploration of the idea that Gadzooks can control the outcome of events by influencing what David writes. This book is basically nothing like the other books, and rather sweet in comparison to other books in the series, which feature demons, good and bad thought forms, and delve deeply into the dragon's intriguing lore. I suggest you read the whole series, or at least the next two books to understand why the squirrels were needed for the plot, which is very complex, in a good way. Stick to it!(less)
Tyna It depends! the first book is gentler than the rest, filled with squirrels and family. The next books might be too complex for some people that read t…moreIt depends! the first book is gentler than the rest, filled with squirrels and family. The next books might be too complex for some people that read the first one. It was a meh series in my opinion.(less)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  28,071 ratings  ·  1,639 reviews

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Aug 14, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The fantasy parts of this book were believable but the reality parts were not. The characterization of the main character was completely ridiculous and unbelievable. The language was terrible (who says "Aren't you supposed to be at college" instead of "aren't you supposed to be in class?" The word college was seriously over-used, like the author had to keep pointing out that he was in college since his character wasn't nearly mature enough to be in college and any guy actually in college would N ...more
Ker Malkin
YAY! A dragon book! I LOVE DRAGONS!

But disappointingly so, it's NOT what I had expected for a dragon book to be 'cause it's mainly centered on squirrels! *annoyed* I know, right?! What was the author thinking?

David is this tenant who rented a room in Elizabeth Pennykettle's household. Liz owns a bunch of clay modeled dragon figures since that's what she "does" for a living and evidently have those things unwavering around the house, mostly on shelves. They don't move but they seem very alive.

I was pretty disappointed with this one. Quite a few of my kids at school really like this one and the series. It has a pretty cool core idea with some dragon lore and living dragon statues, but then like 80% of the book is about saving some squirrels! Who cares?! Seriously. The little girl and the main 20-yr-old freaking out so much about the squirrels isn't really believable and it definitely isn't interesting.

The book suffers from a semi-common JF fiction problem of the characters acting weir
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Fire Within, Dull and Treacly Without

"Hrrr Durr" said that dragon. If you missed it the first time, don't worry, they'll point this out like 50 other times, because it's very poignant that the dragons are...well, special.

This book is so lame. I realize this was a much lower reading level thanI thought it would be, but even my 7 yr old niece would find this book too overly precious, tautological, and redundant. There's clay dragons that are magical and cry purple fire tears and go hrr (DONT FO
I decided to read a children’s book as a change of pace, and Chris D’Lacey’s The Fire Within was a perfect choice. A young college student, David, moves into the home of mother and daughter, Elizabeth and Lucy, expecting just a room to sleep in and food to eat. But he soon becomes part of the family, helping Lucy in her quest to save the squirrel next door which was left injured when its tree was chopped down. The novel has a beautiful mixture of nature and fantasy, with delightful relationships ...more
Anthony Dimario
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-series
Before I start let me just imply that I read this years ago when I was younger and part of the second, so I am a tad biased writing this review for it being one of my favorite childhood books.

Now, for the actual review. Who doesn't like dragons ? And that's exactly what the book is filled with to the brim. A twenty year old college student named David moves into the Pennykettle household as a temporary tenant. There he meets Liz, the single mother who works as a potter and creates clay dragons t
Nov 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was BORING!!!!! It should have been called "Conker's Life" or something to that effect. I was looking for dragon fantasy and I got a crappy story about squirrels. The characters were completely undeveloped, and I hated Lucy. That may sound harsh, but she maybe the most annoying character ever created. I was looking forward to reading the whole series. That is never going to happen. I made myself finish the book because I paid nearly $10.00 ( e-book) for less than 200 pages. The series ...more
Ty Crisp
Oct 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fire Within is one of those books that might not seem very special, or as if it would be a worthwhile read, yet is actually a story that will touch the hearts of all who decide to open its cover. In my opinion, the writing style of this first installment is most suitable for someone of a younger age than my own, yet the themes expressed have the ability to capture anyone's interest. This easy read is a favorite of mine and will always remain so.

Throughout the entirety of the novel, a prevale
Sarah AlObaid
This is the first book in a middle grade series about David, a college student, who moves in to live with a mother and her daughter. The mother, Liz, makes those clay dragons and David believes there is something strange going on in the house and is doubtful as to whether the dragons are real or not. (Spoiler alert: they are)
This was a quick, fun read but i would have enjoyed it more had i read it when i first acquired it: six years ago. Also, practically the entire plot was revolving around res
Dec 29, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition did we get here? My daughter likes dragons, as in How to Train Your Dragon, and I need something to send her to camp with that was on her reading level. I was at a bookstore staring at the eye-catching cover on this one, and a teen next to me exclaimed that she loved this series. Oh, excellent, so I get it, send it off to camp, and my daughter comes back having read one chapter, which is unusual, but I didn't really investigate it at the time. Months later having read many other t ...more
A dragon on the cover? Why don't we just draw Mr. Bacon on the cover?! The most sensible thing would have been a squirrel.
I don't get how the summary takes the smallest message of the book, makes it intriguing and a big deal, and then only mentions the idea a few times throughout the book. I mean "The Fire Within"? How is that of importance?
My friend asks: "Well, have you read the rest of the series?" But that's my point. I shouldn't need to read the rest of the series to understand a message
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was recommended this book because dragons. And while I did ultimately enjoy it, there simply were not ENOUGH dragons for my tastes. My actual rating is 3.5 Stars, but I'm rounding up (because dragons).

The dragons play a small -- albeit important -- part in this tale. The story is about the burgeoning friendship between tenant David, his landlord Liz, and her daughter Lucy. I liked the characters and their interactions (though the writing voice felt too young, even for me).

I really liked the un
May 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
When I first opened it I thought it would be an okay book, if a little childish, but basically the writing was terrible. The parts with the dragons were swallowed up in a side story about squirrels that was completely unrealistic. Maybe if I was younger it would have seemed better.
Josh Neff
Mar 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was not a terrible book, but it was defiantly not great. I did not like this book very much. I was hoping that it would be more focused about dragons than it was. The plot wasn't very good, and it was very shallow. I wished it would have been more interesting than it was. The book was mostly about squirrels and that was disappointing, because the cover had a dragon on it. When I picked it up I thought I was going to get a very interesting story about dragons. I would not recommend this ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, read-2015
This book is so adorable! It has long time since I've read a children's book so engaging. The Fire Within was the perfect book to take me from the reading slump i was going to.

You know that book that catches your inner child and stirs your imagination? The book that makes you subtly believe in magic, but the way that only a child can.

This book made me laugh and cheer for all the characters, I got hooked by the plot and its mysteries, with that excitement that a child has when he's about to hear
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
First reread of 2019!

I decided to go back and at least read the first book of one of my favorite middle grade series of all time, The Last Dragon Chronicles. I read it in a day and now I want to get all the books together and binge read it. It brings back so many memories of hiding under a blanket with a flashlight and reading, trying not to get in trouble. it's such a fun adventure full of dragons, squirrels, and a young writer struggling with accepting a strange world.

Chris D'Lacey is someone
Mrs. Bajema
When college student David decides to board with Liz and her daughter Lucy he soon discovers all is not as it seems. Liz makes clay model dragons to sell, and Lucy is a rambunctious kid who really wants to find out where all the squirrels have gone. When Liz gives David his own dragon, Gadzooks, a tiny little dragon chewing on the end of a pencil, David's life takes some unexpected turns.

This wasn't exactly a dragon book, in the sense of having a dragon as a main character. It was an interestin
Dec 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: fantasy-series
A magical adventure about the power of dragons...

When David moves in with Elizabeth Pennykettle and her eleven-year-old daughter, Lucy, he discovers a collection of clay dragons that come to life. David's own special dragon inspires him to wrote a story, which reveals the secrets behind a mystery. In order to solve the mystery and to save his dragon, David must master the magic of the fire within--not only with his hands but also his heart.
Emily Mead
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book brings back so many mems.
Jordan Grieve
I was expecting a fantasy book about dragons but it was really just a book about a college aged kid hanging out with a 7 year old, trying to capture and relocate a squirrel. The writing wasn't bad, although a tad basic, my only disappointment was with the intense focus on squirrels and the complete and total miss when it came to trying to hit my heartstrings. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but I've never met anyone that's even likes squirrels
James M. Link
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the premise of the clay dragons. Fun and light reading.
Brooke Wayne
The Fire Within is about dragons so of course I picked it up... in 5th grade. Since I'm looking for new books and not having any success, I decided to re-read this book.
I will say that the language is really low-grade level, but I really like Chris d'Lacey's style of writing. It's so engaging in an indefinable way. I really love books like that; books you put down but wish that you could read all the way through without being interrupted.
One big problem I had with this book though is the obsess
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
First of all, my library categorized this as a teen book and I don't agree with their decision. I think this is more of a juvenile book.

Parts of it were not believable at all. David is supposed to be a 20 year old tenant, but he doesn't act like a 20 year old. He also just met Liz and Lucy and they just met him, yet they all act as though David is a part of their family and that he is one of them. That does not happen. You don't meet someone for the first time one day and then the next are prac
Aug 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is told from the perspective of David, a tenant at the Pennykettle household, with Liz Pennykettle, and her daughter, Lucy. The first few days, David has some odd experiences with clay dragons that Liz makes. He also helps her daughter find out what happened to a squirrel in their backyard.
I think that this book was very interesting, because it tells a story about Dragons, while still adding parts about the squirrels. I thought some parts were unrealistic, such as the clay dragons com
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appropriate for: age 10+
You will like this book if you like: Dragons, subtle magic, kids' books

This book was definitely geared towards kids, but I still really enjoyed. I'm not sure how much I liked the story within the story, but I bet kids will love it
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I like The Fire Within. There are better books in the series. I think the book would be more interesting if there wasn't as much stuff about squirrels. Maybe that's just me. It is a very good series though.
Feb 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Davie
First in The Last Dragon Chronicles paranormal fantasy series for young young adult readers and revolving around clay dragons who aren’t quite so still.

NOTE: The Last Dragon Chronicles are a sequel series to The Dragons of Wayward Crescent. I haven’t read the prequel series, and I suspect doing so would make more sense of The Fire Within.

My Take
This is a weird blend of writing with a bent toward the mythic with d’Lacey’s references to the King Arthur tales. His primary protagonist appears to be
Jun 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book but can't remember it well even though I only read it about a year ago. I know it is part of a series and someday maybe I'll read the other books.
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He was born in Valetta, Malta, but as a child moved first to Leicester and then to Bolton. After gaining a degree in biology from the University of York, he returned to Leicester and got a job at the University of Leicester in their Pre-Clinical Sciences department.
Originally his writing was confined to songs and he didn't turn to fiction until he was 32. His first piece of work was a 250,000 word

Other books in the series

The Last Dragon Chronicles (7 books)
  • Icefire (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #2)
  • Fire Star (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #3)
  • The Fire Eternal (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #4)
  • Dark Fire (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #5)
  • Fire World (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #6)
  • The Fire Ascending (The Last Dragon Chronicles, #7)

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