by Patrick Matthews
Scholastic, 2013. 336 pgs. Fantasy
Al Pilgrommor is excited for Testing Day, when he will receive his rank, a tattooed number on the back of his neck, and a path forward to his future occupation and life. He feels confident because his parents were fours on a scale of seven, but he is worried for his friend Wisp who doesn't have much of a chance of scoring above a two at best. But when Al is scored a zero, he not only has no prospects, he may lose his life as the dreaded Cullers are unleashed to kill him and his family to purify the land's bloodlines. Al's world is ruled by dragons--the lords and supposed creators of humankind--so he thinks that even if he survives, he will have to make his living as a beggar or thief. But when Al sticks up for his Earther friend in front of Magister Ludi, he is drawn into the struggle of a secret organization hoping to destroy the Cullers, and perhaps the dragons themselves. Dragon Run is a fresh, inventive, action-packed adventure with a good message: just because people think you're a zero, doesn't mean you have to be one.