CSFF Blog Tour, Day 3 – The Vanishing Sculptor, A Review

Donita Paul impresses me because she continues to develop as a writer, though she is obviously already successful and popular. The latest evidence of this is her newest release, The Vanishing Sculptor.

The Story. Set in the same world as the DragonKeeper Chronicles, though in a distant country, this prequel to the series centers on Tipper, a young emerlindian who is trying to provide for her mother by selling valuables from their once thriving estate.

Tipper’s father, a renowned artist, disappeared some years ago, though her mother talks and acts as if he is still present. As it turns out, he actually is sometimes present, and at last Tipper reunites with him—until he again fades from sight.

Tipper soon learns what is causing her father’s problems and sets out with a band of concerned associates on a quest to set things right so that her father will remain and so the world will not disintegrate into chaos.

Strengths. The plot is particularly strong in this book, I think. It’s tightly organized, yet has surprises and twists that keep it from being predictable.

The main character, Tipper, has a clearly defined objective from the beginning, so I found myself pulling for her at once.

The stakes involved are serious for Tipper and her family, but they grow larger as the story goes on. Soon the whole world is at risk, and we begin to see more evidences of the chaos that will destroy the world if the quest isn’t successful.

That, along with the effects on her father, adds a “ticking clock,” enhancing the seriousness of this quest.

Tipper is a likable protagonist from the beginning. Her plight is hard and I felt sympathetic for her right away. The other characters are well drawn, unique, and interesting. And one of my favorites from the DragonKeeper Chronicles is a key player.

The themes in the book are strong without being preachy. Overt at places, but naturally so. The characters are talking to each other, not the author talking to the reader.

Weakness. My only real criticism is that the antagonist didn’t show up sooner. There is a good antagonist, a worthy opponent, but for much of the book, the circumstances seem to be the only opponent, and those, accidentally initiated.

Consequently, while the stakes are huge and time is running out, there doesn’t seem to be the tension in the early part of the book that I found present later.

Recommendation. This is a deceptively light story. By that I mean it is an easy read, marketed to all ages, but with the feel of a young adult novel. And yet, the themes are big and crafted well. There is much to think about in this novel, even though the story, on the surface, is a feel-good, happy-ever-after type. I highly recommend this book to fans of the DragonKeeper Chronicles and any others who enjoy fantasy.

Be sure to visit other participating blogs listed in my day one post. Lots and lots of good posts – Dawn King, who lost her other Donita Paul books in a fire, says this might be her favorite. Coming from the ACFW Conference, Donita was still able to give an interview to Phyllis Wheeler, and Chawna Schroeder gives her usual objective review of our featured book.

Published in: on September 23, 2009 at 2:41 pm  Comments (3)  


  1. Dear Fearless Leader: 🙂
    I like your review of strengths and weaknesses. You’ve done a great job of summarizing the high points and drawbacks of the book. And I love the term “deceptively light story.” Very nicely stated.


  2. Sounds interesting, I’ll have to check this out. Do you think I should read the dragon keeper books first?


  3. […] I posted a review of The Vanishing Sculptor, the newest release by Donita Paul, over at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. […]


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