The Dragon Codexes (codexi? codex? Ms. Yingling has enlightened me. It is codices) are companions to The Practical Guide to Dragons, much like the Dragon's Eye series (which they don't seem to have ever continued after the first volume. or no, I guess they've published the second. anyways, that's irrelevant).
Gold Dragon Codex is the latest, and I believe possibly the final in the series, but it's the first I've read, although I've skimmed The Practical Guide and it's quite popular in my library.
Sandon's home valley is threatened by a dangerous blue dragon and his father, the Baron, doesn't seem to be able to drive it away and continues to pay it tribute. But when Sandon extends hospitality to a wandering traveler, Kine, everything changes. Soon horrible secrets are being uncovered and Sandon no longer knows who to trust or believe.
This is a complex and richly imagined fantasy, with the various characters' motivations and secrets gradually revealed throughout the story. There's plenty of adventure and excitement, as well as dragon lore but there's also a strong emphasis on character. The reader's will follow the battle between the Baron and the evil dragon as breathlessly as they watch Sandon mature and take responsibility as he begins to see clearly what is happening around him.
The ending felt somewhat abrupt as all the threads were hastily tied together and some of the dialogue is a little stilted, but this is an excellent fantasy to hand to kids who love fantasy but aren't ready for the more lengthy and complex high fantasies like Paolini's Eragon series or LOTR (no, I'm not comparing the two, I'm just saying they're both long and complex).
Verdict: Recommended if you have plenty of middle grade fantasy fans - and who doesn't?
ISBN: 0786953489; Published January 2010 by Mirrorstone; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates