The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen back when it first came out, and reread it just now since the sequel has been released. I enjoyed it when I first read it, but the details of the story did not stick with me at all, so I am glad I squeezed in a reread before proceeding with the series.
apprentice mage Calen and Princess Meglynne encounter each other (both
hiding from their respective responsibilities), a fast friendship is
formed. Both children were lonely and isolated by their positions, and
they soon find themselves sharing secrets. Meg has a big secret -- she
discovered a young dragon in the woods near the castle, and she has been
hiding it in a cave ever since. In fact, Meg and the dragon Jakl have
formed a magical bond. They are, in fact, linked for life, whether they
meant to be or not. Calen resolves to help keep Meg's secret, and he
begins to research the dragon linkage in hopes of helping her manage it.
Even bigger than this dragon-size problem, however, is the scheme of an
evil mage who is plotting war and murder. When Calen and Meg stumble
upon this plot, their lives are in danger -- and they are the only ones
who can sound the alarm and stop the plot from wreaking havoc in Meg's
family and her kingdom.
This is a fun fantasy read -- though I
found myself enjoying it a little less as a reread than I did at first.
Perhaps that's because it's not highly original, as far as the plot
goes. I like the characters, and I think Meg's conflicted feelings about
her link with Jakl are particularly well-done. Some of the secondary
characters (Meg's parents, for instance) are a bit flat, while others
(Serek, the mage Calen is apprenticed to, in particular) are intriguing.
It's a good solid read, and I'd recommend it to fans of middle-grade
fantasy, especially those who like the Dragon Slippers books by Jessica Day George and A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine.
(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)