The Brightest Night (Scholastic, March 25) turned out to be my favorite book of the series.
The basic premise of the books is that five dragonets from different dragon tribes were raised together in isolation, told that they were destined to end the war between the three Sand Wing sisters fighting to become the next queen of those dragons. It's a bloody struggle that drew all the other dragon tribes in as well (except the Rain Wings). Each book was told from the point of view of one of the dragons, and this is Sunny's story.
Sunny is the sweet one, the cute one, the Sand Wing who isn't exactly all a Sand Wing should be (she's missing the barbed poisonous tale, for one thing), the one who's kind of dismissed by the others. But inside Sunny is much more than sweet and cute. She is smart, determined, and brave, and she manages to do more than any of the others for the cause of peace.
And that's all I'll say about the plot. Except that it has "scavengers" aka humans in it, playing actual roles, which was a fascinating new development! And it also has more magical artifacts in it than the other books. And we meet Sunny's family. And there's some dragon romance. But that's really all I'll say....
Sunny is my favorite heroine of the year. Any one who's ever been told they are sweet, and patted on the head, when really they are smart and brave and tough, will relate to her. She is a truly excellent role model--it would have been easy for her to give up, and stay just the sweet one of the lot, but it is her conviction that peace is possible that makes her a truly strong force to be reckoned with.
I could spend a lot more words on how great Sunny is, though the other dragonets all have their good points too, and I'm fond of them all.
I'm very glad that Tui T. Sutherland is going to be bringing us five more dragon books! There are so many fine young dragons in these books whose stories I want to know more about that this makes me very happy.
Give this series to any nine or ten year old you have on hand who likes dragons (or who you think might like dragons). They have just tremendous kid appeal, and the larger themes are truly appealing. The first book and the fourth are a tad violent (just in case you have a truly sensitive reader), but the point of the series is that violence doesn't solve a thing--friendship and loyalty and understanding and appreciating difference are what is important.
Here are my reviews of the previous books:
The Dragonet Prophecy
The Lost Heir
The Hidden Kingdom
The Dark Secret