A Fall Into Reading Review

Callapidder Days Time for me to report on my fall reading again. √ Auralia’s Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook).
Scarlet by Stephen Lawhead.
Crimson Eve by Brandilyn Collins (Zondervan).
The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin.
Wish list:
DragonFire by Donita Paul (WaterBrook).
Landon Snow and the Volucer Dragon by R. K. Mortenson (Barbour).
Restorer’s Journey by Sharon Hinck (NavPress).
Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling.

Yep, Donita Paul’s DragonFire (WaterBrook) is now in the “read” pile, so I thought a review would be appropriate.

The Story. Once again, the characters from the previous Dragon Keeper Chronicles books gather for a romping adventure. Kale and husband Bardon take center stage, or rather share center stage, since much of the book has them separated, each on his or her individual assignment. But we encounter old friends as well—Rigador, Gilda, Paladin, Kale’s mother and father, Sir Dar, and others. We also meet new folks as Kale and Bardon seek to fulfill the tasks they’ve been given as a means to help Paladin recover from a serious illness.

Strengths. Donita has crafted a wonderful world and populated it with unique races of people. There are some surprising developments in the story, the characters continue to entice the reader, there is suspense, adventure, and plenty of action.

Weaknesses. While some of the surprises are delightful twists that keep the story from becoming predictable, some seem random and disconnected. I would like to see a more well-defined goal that the characters are aiming for. I sometimes didn’t know what they were trying to achieve.

I thought there were also some spots where it seemed as if Kale’s father was lecturing her for the readers’ benefit rather than to make a point she didn’t already know and understand.

I also thought she was a little inconsistent, too, sometimes sounding like the girl from the first Dragon Keeper book and sometimes sounding like the matured version we would expect to find after three years of marriage and life as the reigning wizard in The Bogs.

Recommendation. All in all, I enjoyed the story. I’ve said before, Donita writes the kind of fantasy I most love, though a gentler version. The pages sped by, and I had fun with this book. For anyone looking for a fantasy that has wizards but no false magic, dragons that redefine the imaginative creatures, excitement, adventure, and fun characters with lots of personality, this book is for you. I would encourage anyone interested in the book to first read the previous three, not because it is necessary, exactly, but the reading experience will be enhanced. DragonKnight remains my favorite of the series, but DragonFire is a worthwhile addition. Recommended.

Published in: on December 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for the review. I’ve not picked up a copy yet. One young man at my church, though, who loves fantasy, told me that with this book Donita has vaulted to the top of his list of favorite fantasy writers. He ranks her books with The Lord of the Rings, Eragon, and The Binding of the Blade series.

    So I look forward to giving this one a whirl myself. I think she’s superb at creating endearing characters.

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  2. Thanks for that report, Sally. I think your young friend will enjoy this installment as well. You’re right about Donita’s characters. Her imagination is most evident, I think, in her characters, especially the minor ones.

    From the little fainting minor dragon to the bog and water wizards, Sir Dar, Toopka, the minnekan, and in this one, to a lesser extent, the rompa Bug, she creates fun, quirky characters that are truly memorable.

    Becky

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  3. […] Paul, author of the DragonKeeper Chronicles (book 4 DragonFire) and participant in last year’s West Coast fantasy tour – The Vanishing Sculptor, […]

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