Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief by David Owen

Published by Usborne, 2022.

Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief is a terrific story which had my son and me hooked; so much so that we nearly missed our train stop because we were so engrossed in our reading!

For as long as Alex Neptune can remember, the ocean has been trying to kill him. So he’s not too happy when a bunch of sea creatures drag him to the abandoned aquarium on the hill, where an imprisoned water dragon needs his help. But how can he say no to a magical creature?

Recruiting his tech-genius best friend Zoey, his bodybuilding older sister Bridget, and legend-lover Anil, along with a sharp-shooting octopus, four acrobatic otters and a thieving seagull, Alex plots a heist to break the dragon out. And suddenly discovers the power of the ocean at his fingertips…

The book is so much fun. It’s exciting and humorous and full of twists and turns, as the heist doesn’t always go quite to plan. It also includes one of the most nail-biting scenes I’ve ever read in a children’s book: the escape sequence through the underwater tunnels was dramatic and terrifying and triggered my claustrophobia on a grand scale!

I loved the feisty females – STEM-mad Zoey and super strong Bridget – even Kraken the octopus knows how to handle herself, and her precision water squirting consistently gets the gang out of a tight spot.

There’s also a really important environmental message running throughout the story about ocean pollution and humankind’s impact on marine life. The book explores human arrogance and their disregard for the ocean environment in the pursuit of profit and personal interest.

I enjoyed all the extras too – the map of Haven Bay, the chapter heading illustrations, even the names of the chapters themselves which were often humorous or made use of a great pun.

The story is built upon friendship, bravery and team work. The four main characters are really engaging and likeable and I’m excited about their next adventures together: book two in the series is out next year.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 8+

Thank you to Usborne for sending me this book to review. I reviewed this book as part of the Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief blog tour where author David Owen talked to me about the inspiration for the book. Read his guest post here.

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