In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.
Once, dragons nearly drove themselves to extinction. But in the city of Drakopolis, humans domesticated them centuries ago. Now dragons haul the city’s cargo, taxi its bustling people between skyscrapers, and advertise its wares in bright, neon displays. Most famously of all, the dragons battle. Different breeds take to the skies in nighttime bouts between the infamous kins—criminal gangs who rule through violence and intimidation.
Abel has always loved dragons, but after a disastrous showing in his dragon rider’s exam, he's destined never to fly one himself. All that changes the night his sister appears at his window, entrusting him with a secret...and a stolen dragon.
Turns out, his big sister is a dragon thief! Too bad his older brother is a rising star in Drakopolis law enforcement...
To protect his friends and his family, Abel must partner with the stolen beast, riding in kin battles and keeping more secrets than a dragon has scales.
When everyone wants him fighting on their side, can Abel figure out what’s worth fighting for?
"Reckless, easily distracted, and afraid of heights," Abel, 13, is secretly glad that he failed the Dragon Rider Academy Entrance Exam, though it means he can't follow in the footsteps of his older brother Silas. But when Abel accidentally bonds with a stolen, "rare and valuable" dragon named Karak, he becomes a pawn of one of the dragon-riding criminal kins that dominate the technologically advanced city of Drakopolis, expected to train and fly on their behalf. With his implied white family particularly rebellious older sister Lina thoroughly entangled in a multi-faction struggle between the various kins and Drakopolis's secret police, Abel must enlist his best friend, nonbinary veterinarian-in-training Roa, as well as Karak himself, to help save them all. London (Gold Wings Rising) establishes an absorbing semifuturistic society where technology and dragons go hand-in-wing, the latter used for everything from transportation to settling gang disputes high in the sky. Abel proves a quick-witted protagonist who copes well with the constant danger and unsettling revelations that invert his world. Fast-paced and adventurous, this series starter hints at a complicated, fascinating setting while leaving plenty to be explored in subsequent installments. Ages 8 12. Agent: Robert Guinsler, Sterling Lord Literistic.