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Book review: Teens, mechanical dragons battle the big one in 'Embers of Destruction'

"MYSTERIES OF COVE, Vol. 3: Embers of Destruction," by J. Scott Savage, Shadow Mountain, $17.99, 332 pages (f) (ages 8 and up)

In his third Mysteries of Cove book, "Embers of Destruction," author J. Scott Savage keeps his band of young heroes fighting the dragons who threaten to destroy their world, once again.

Teenagers Kallista, Trenton, Simoni, Angus, Clyde and Plucky are seasoned fighters. They've built their own mechanical dragons and flown them through a variety of challenging battles.

This time, as they head south from their home in the mountains to San Francisco, they are faced not only with hundreds of the dangerous beasts but they're pitted against a huge, white dragon who can talk and who seems capable of controlling the dragons and the captured people.

The city and surrounding area have a dictatorship-style government — the people seem happy serving as slaves to the regime as long as they are fed, safe and provided for. They plant and harvest the crops, cook the dragons' meals and clean the buildings. But they also are punished for the slightest crime.

Kallista is looking for her father and thus endangers the group of teens called the Runt Patrol who start out trying to help them escape. However, Kallista's dad also seems to have the key to some of the mystery, so they need to stay in touch with him.

Savage keeps the plot moving, the action interesting and the story just different enough that the book is quite entertaining. There's no real way to see what's coming.

Fortunately the young fighters are clever, relatively fearless and resourceful. They build a submarine so the dragons on land can't see them coming. They devise a way to distract the fearsome Ninki Nankas as they worked their patrols through the city streets.

They band together, rely on each other and come through for one another.

The language is clean and there isn't any sexual content. There are some general described dragon fights that are told in an age-appropriate way.

This book is a 2017 Whitney Awards finalist in the middle grade category. The Whitney Awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.