Dragonborn by Toby Forward
Target audience: Juvenile
Synopsis from inside front cover
"When Flaxfield the great wizard dies, his apprentice, Sam, is left alone. Same has great power -- but he doesn't know it yet. All he knows is that he needs a new master if he wants to finish his education in magic. With his dragon, Starback, at his side, Sam sets out on his quest. But there are those who want Sam's power for themselves, dangerous forces that are waiting for an opportunity to attack....
And his dragon may not be able to save him."
This was a great beginning to a compelling new fantasy series. Sam starts out his journey with his loyal dragon, Starback, not knowing whom to trust. I love the dragon and we find out more about Sam's connection with him as the story progresses. There are excerpts from his apprentice's notebook where he describes many of the magical creatures that inhabit the Deep World below with charming silliness. When Sam attempts to learn more magic at the college, he realizes that he has enemies there as well. The college library is fabulous with fake books hiding multiple secret rooms. What I wouldn't give to work there. Anyway, as the author sets up this world, things get a bit crammed with all the characters and their motivations. He does meander a bit in doing so, but just keep with it. I'm glad there is so much foundation building because that hints at how rich and comprehensive this series will be.