Magdalys Roca, an orphan girl at the Colored Orphans Asylum, dreams of finding her scattered family, especially her brother Montez, fighting on the front lines in the Civil War. The children were on their way to the theater, when they were stopped by Magistrate Riker, who scared them with threats of paperwork, or he would have to take the children in as fugitive slaves. He does allow them to continue on, but soon after, all hell breaks loose, as the Draft Riots begin. The orphanage is burned, some children are abducted, and all hope seems lost. In the midst of it all, Magdalys seems to have a close connection to the dinosaurs – did I mention dinosaurs are ridden like horses? It’s up to her and her Dactyl Hill Squad to save the children and then go find her family.
This is a cute little book for the young adolescent set. Magdalys is a reluctant hero who slowly discovers the most awesome power of all – the ability to control dinosaurs. And by control, I mean that they understand each other and the dinos want to help her. It is very fast-paced. The adventure never stops and it’s really sweet the way the orphans stick together against their formidable foe, in the midst of war and slavery. The themes of the book, although set in Civil War times, resonate today.
If you’re looking for a new series for your young reader, I definitely recommend this.
It’s 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker.
Magdalys and her friends flee to Brooklyn and settle in the Dactyl Hill neighborhood, where black and brown New Yorkers have set up an independent community–a safe haven from the threats of Manhattan. Together with the Vigilance Committee, they train to fly on dactylback, discover new friends and amazing dinosaurs, and plot to take down Riker. Can Magdalys and the squad rescue the rest of their friends before it’s too late?