Friday, February 1, 2008

Dragon Keeper Part 4

Title: DragonFire

Series: The Dragon Keeper #4

Author: Donita K. Paul

Genre: Late Mid-grade (10-14) Fantasy

Excerpt from “Treasure,” Chapter 1 of DrgaonFire:

Sir Bardon gripped his struggling wife in his arms.

“You’re not rushing into that battered building, Kale.” He lowered his voice to a more soothing tone. “Come on, lady of mine. You can control this urge.”

With his arm encircling her waist, he felt her take a deep breath and let it out slowly. He loosened his grasp but remained wary. In this state she couldn’t be trusted. Her talent sabotaged her judgment. Perhaps words of reason would override her compulsion.

“Remember, Kale, we must find Regidor and Gilda before it is too late.”

Kale’s body tensed, and he reacted by tightening his hold just before she tried to lunge out of his arms toward the inn.

“Bardon, please.” He voice broke on the last word.

“I’m just as determined to keep you here as you are to go. Relax, Kale. Think.”

He scanned the building she wanted to enter. One end had collapsed under the barrage of a recent battle. The other smoldered sullenly.

The muscles in Bardon’s face tightened.
Fire dragons. I wonder how many?

A drenching rain had doused the flames. How long ago? Where are the people to answer my questions?

The rain had finally stopped. The villagers had collected their dead. But still the acrid smell of war permeated the air.

“I have to go in, Bardon.” Kale’s voice shuddered as she pushed ineffectively against his hold.

Now-married Kale and Bardon must separate ways to protect a land ravaged by two warring wizards.

The Writing: Once again Ms. Paul delivers a colorful array of characters that tickle your funny bone and pull your heart-strings. And despite the large cast, each character is so unique that any confusion or mix-ups are minimal.

Nonetheless, plotting remains the weak point in the Dragon Keeper series. While the duel point of view is well balanced and skillfully handled and the tension builds throughout most of the story, the climax fizzles. Bardon’s climax seems almost nonexistent. Kale’s decisions do directly impact her story’s climax (a questionable area in past books), but the solutions are reached too easily, it seems. In addition, the feeling of multiple, convoluted climaxes dissipate the tension that was built.

Nonetheless, the end reached is fairly satisfying.

The Story: DragonFire, like all of the DragonKeeper series, has many wonderful themes and spiritual threads. Love. Sacrifice. Forgiving the past. Learning to depend on each other and God. Choosing good over evil and using our talents aright. These and more are found within the pages of this novel.

However, a couple notes for parents. Kale and Bardon are now married, and therefore act as such, including kisses, physical awareness/attraction, and one scene where they share a bed (Chapter 5, “Night Talk,” for those who want to see it in advance.) I personally don’t think it is a problem, as everything is kept very innocent and simply described, but it is something to be aware of.

The second note is about the increase of magic in DragonFire. Again, I think it is well handled, since the book works hard to emphasize this supernatural gifting is exactly that: a gift from God. It is not inexhaustible; it is limited by what has already been created; there are proper and wrongful uses of it, just like with any other talent or gift.

Summary: While not without its faults, DragonFire is a fun and entertaining read to make you laugh and the heart ache. Overall, it’s a fairly safe read for all ages, unless magic tends to be an extra sensitive point.

Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars

Interested in buying DragonFire? Click here to order.

(Click to see reviews for books one, two, and three)

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