Friday, September 7, 2018

ARC Review: Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older

Dactyl Hill Squad
Author: Daniel Jose Older
Series: Dactyl Hill Squad
Publication: Arthur A. Levine Books (September 11, 2018)

Description: 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?

My Thoughts: DACTYL HILL SQUAD was an entertaining historical fantasy. Imagine dinosaurs roaming the land in 1863! This story takes place in New York City. Magdalys Roca lives at the Colored Orphan Asylum. She was brought there with her sisters and brother when she was young. Her sisters were taken away and her brother Montez decided to join the Union Army. He was injured while serving in the African Brigade of the 9th Louisiana Regiment, Mounted Ceratops Division. He has been taken to New Orleans gravely injured. Magdalys is determined to go to him to nurse him back to health.

However before she can leave New York, she has to survive the Draft Riots which covered blatant racist attacks on free Blacks in the City. She and her friends just happened to be at a theater performance when the Orphan Asylum was attacked, the custodian lynched, and the orphans grabbed by the Kidnapping Club to be taken South and sold into slavery.

The make their way to Brooklyn and Dactyl Hill which is supposed to be a safe place for Blacks and is the headquarters of the Vigilance Committee. The committee recruits the kids to spy on the Kidnapping Club so that they can save the orphans before they are taken down South.

Magdalys has a newly discovered talent. She is able to talk with the various kinds of prehistoric creatures. Her talent plays a major role in the resolution of this story. The book was filled with action. Magdalys's friends were all interesting people with their own talents and stories. I liked the combination of real history of New York City and dinosaurs. The notes at the back helped make clear what and who was real and which were inventions of the author's incredible imagination. 

Favorite Quote:
Something inside Magdalys felt like it was tearing in half. Was this what Montez had felt? Why he'd run off to fight a war in a whole other part of the country? Of course, Magdalys wanted to stay. And of course she wanted to go. She'd never been needed before; at least, she'd never felt that way. But Montez needed her too. Or she needed him. She needed him to be okay. And this was the best way to make sure of that. The only way.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. You can buy your copy here.

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