Friday, May 25, 2007

Dragon Keeper, Part II

Title: DragonQuest

Series: The Dragon Keeper #2

Author: Donita K. Paul

Genre: Late mid-grade (10-14) fantasy

“Vendela Surprises,” Chapter 1 of Dragonquest:

“We’re going to get in trouble,” Kale muttered. She’d lost sight of her doneel friend Dar in a Vendela market. Amara’s capital city teemed with people from each of the seven high races. Kale found the throngs fascinating and intimidating.

She inched past two women, a marione and an o’rant, haggling over the price of a brass candlestick, then ducked as a man swung his arm out, gesturing to three men listening to his tale. She bumped into a kimen, said, “Excuse me,” and moved to the middle of the street.

I should have stayed put. I should have turned away and marched right back into The Hall. But no! Dar says let’s go explore, and I follow him.

Kale detoured around a fruit cart. As an o’rant, she was taller and slimmer than the mariones in the crowd. Much taller than the kimens. A good two feet taller than Dar. But her height hadn’t helped her keep an eye on the doneel.

The twelve-year-old former slave girl sets out to stop the betrayal of the dragon race…and to find her mother.

The Writing: Much of what I said about Dragonspell applies here. The characters are as colorful as ever, with some delightful additions to the original cast.

Plotting continues to be the main flaw, especially concerning the climax. Nonetheless, Dragonquest shows improvement over Dragonspell.

The Story: In the midst of battles, deception, and wizard lessons, Kale continues to grow as she learns about prejudice, family, and trust, not only of God, but also of the people (and dragons) around her. This is complimented by the journey of new character Bardon, a rule-oriented knight-in-training who has much to learn about compassion and flexibility.

The magical elements from the first book gain more prominence in Dragonquest. But again, the magic is clearly marked as a gift from God, with one extra clarification: wizards cannot “make” anything. They merely manipulate and combine existing elements much in the same way we combine elements to make a cake—just in more supernatural way.

Summary: Dragonquest is even better than Dragonspell and provides an enjoyable day of reading.

Rating: 3.8 of 5 stars

(Reviews for Book 1, Book 3, and Book 4)


Becca Johnson said...

Another great review! I loved the way Donita K. Paul handled the whole magic thing! :) It's refreshing.

I actually enjoyed this climax, particularly the part involving Fenworth. It brings you to a very emotional place where you think all hope is lost, then pretty soon you're laughing again. :)

Becca Johnson

Chawna Schroeder said...

I love the fact, too, that this book does bring you to that black moment--I just would have enjoyed it more if Kale had had a greater hand in the solution. As it is, Kale stumbles upon the solution (if she had any real hand it in the first place), and that seems to stop a full expression of how much Kale has changed within the course of the book.

But this is still a great book.