The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis

The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis fantays book reviewsStephanie Burgis follows up last year’s award-nominated middle grade fantasy The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart with The Girl with the Dragon Heart (2018), the second book in her TALES FROM THE CHOCOLATE HEART series. The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart followed the escapades of Aventurine, a chocolate-loving young dragon enchanted into the shape of a young girl. The focus now shifts to Aventurine’s friend Silke, a dark-skinned girl with short black curly hair. More importantly, Silke is also brave, quick-thinking and fast-moving, and has a great talent for creating stories, including her own.

Silke, an orphan, spends most of her time waitressing at the Chocolate Heart, one of Drachenburg’s finest chocolate houses (where Aventurine is an apprentice), helping to market their shop by creating and passing out promotional handbills, and keeping the hot-tempered Aventurine out of trouble. But Silke, who’s lived on the streets for years, feels compelled to create a life that has more security and permanence. So when the crown princess of Drachenburg offers Silke a challenge ― pretend to be one of the relatives of the royal family, spy on a delegation of visiting fairies from Elfenwald, and find out what they’re up to and why they’re visiting humans for the first time in over a century ― Silke is delighted to accept, and make herself over as one of the nobility. But is she really ready to leave her friends at the Chocolate Heart behind?

Also, what Silke doesn’t tell Princess Katrin is that six years ago, when Silke was only seven years old, she traveled through Elfenwald with her parents and older brother Dieter in a caravan of refugees. In the middle of the night the group had an encounter with the fairies that ended badly. Dieter and Silke’s parents suddenly disappeared, and the rest of the group rushed out of the forest, taking Dieter and Silke with them. This assignment from Princess Katrin is just the chance Silke has been waiting for, to find out what became of her parents and whether they’re still alive.

The Girl with the Dragon Heart is a solid sequel to The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart. The fairies are perhaps not quite as exciting as the dragons in the first story, but they’re a devious group that presents some unexpected challenges for Silke, particularly when her sometimes-dragon-sometimes-girl friend Aventurine gets involved. The story emphasizes the importance of love, acceptance, and loyalty to both friends and family ― both biological and “made” families.

There’s lots of racial diversity in Drachenburg, not only a minority heroine with a can-do attitude, but characters from both the lower and upper classes of society. Horst and Marina, the couple who run the Chocolate Heart, are a mixed-race couple, as are the king and queen of Drachenburg. Skin color is mentioned in passing but doesn’t ever play a role in how people are viewed and treated by others; it’s a refreshingly color-blind society.Tales from the Chocolate Heart Book Series

I appreciated Silke’s story-telling point of view, and her determination to create her own story.

I wouldn’t feel this helpless again. I had sworn that a long time ago.


I’d been seven years old the first time I’d felt that taste of sick danger in the air: the feeling of an angry crowd transforming into a mob. By then, I’d already lost my parents and any illusion of safety. … But I wasn’t that powerless girl anymore. I was not. I was the heroine of my own story, and I would make my story work.

It’s a powerful theme in the story, and young readers will enjoy Silke’s adventures and appreciate her courage.

For fans of this TALES FROM THE CHOCOLATE HEART series, Burgis also has a couple of cute short stories set in this world that are available to read for free on her website: “A Chocolate-Flavoured Bargain” and “The Dragon with an Unbearable Family.”

Published in November 2018. A chocolate-filled, girl-powered fantasy with a witty heroine who learns what home truly means, perfect for fans of Shannon Hale. Silke has always been good at spinning the truth and storytelling. So good that, just years after arriving in the kingdom as a penniless orphan, she has found her way to working for the most splendid chocolate makers in the city as a master promoter. Although Silke loves her work at the Chocolate Heart, she’s certain it’s not going to last, and what Silke wants more than anything is somewhere to call home — somewhere safe. But when your best friend is a dragon-turned-hot-tempered-girl, trouble is always right around the corner.  Then Silke gets the opportunity she’s been waiting for: the Crown Princess personally asks her to spy on the Elfenwald royal family during their first visit to the kingdom. In return, Silke will have the home she’s always wanted in the secure palace. But Silke has her own dark, secret reasons for not trusting fairies . . . and her mission isn’t as simple as she hoped. Soon, she discovers that her city is in danger–and that maybe it’s more her home than she ever realized. Can Silke find out the truth about the fairies while keeping her own secrets hidden?


  • Tadiana Jones

    TADIANA JONES, on our staff since July 2015, is an intellectual property lawyer with a BA in English. She inherited her love of classic and hard SF from her father and her love of fantasy and fairy tales from her mother. She lives with her husband and four children in a small town near the mountains in Utah. Tadiana juggles her career, her family, and her love for reading, travel and art, only occasionally dropping balls. She likes complex and layered stories and characters with hidden depths. Favorite authors include Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Megan Whalen Turner, Patricia McKillip, Mary Stewart, Ilona Andrews, and Susanna Clarke.

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