As war looms in Second Eden, Billy and Elam try to prepare their small army for battle. They desperately need the help of Makaidos, king of the dragons. Before they can call him, two sinister figures arrive to interfere with Elam’s plans, but are they really as bad as they seem?
Meanwhile, Bonnie, Sapphira, Billy’s mother, and Gabriel attempt to open a portal to Second Eden. When enemies attack, causing them to separate, things get even more complicated as Bonnie and Sapphira end up in a strange new dimension. Add to that mix a few unfulfilled prophecies that have been floating around since Raising Dragons, and the stage is set for the final chapter of Oracles of Fire.
It is always difficult to write a review of the final book in a series that you have thoroughly enjoyed. You know it’s the end, and that makes you sad, but you also know that everything will finally be put right. Bryan Davis effectively ties up all the loose ends remaining from both Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire, while still (delightfully) leaving a couple small things hanging. Nothing has disappeared from his usual style which convicts as often as it captivates. Themes of unending love and selfless sacrifice abound, often bringing tears to the eyes of the reader. Although I was sad to see the story end, the final chapter left me grinning from ear to ear.
The arrival of an unmarried young gentleman by the name of Mr. Bingley is a matter of great interest to everyone in the small town. Mrs. Bennett in particular is hoping he will take notice of one of her five daughters and sets about ensuring several meetings at dinners and the local balls, etc. Elizabeth Bennett, the second-oldest, finds it of little consequence—but she does take an immediate disliking to Bingley’s friend Mr. Darcy, who seems undoubtedly proud and conceited. However, as the months go by and many, many scenarios unfold, she begins to see his true character. But surely her change of opinion is too late now?
Perhaps not everyone can enjoy Jane Austen’s writings, but I personally find them to be delightful reads of an “every now and then” sort. While not fast-moving, they keep me interested throughout the entirety—and surprising plot twists are not uncommon. Pride and Prejudice must certainly be Austen’s most famous novel (so if you haven’t read it, give it a try); however, I have enjoyed some of her others like Mansfield Park and Persuasion equally well.
Declan Ross and his daughter Anne have left piracy behind and now work for the Royal Navy as pirate hunters. Their former, amnesic crew mate, Cat, has stayed behind in a monastery of treasure-guarding monks. All seems somewhat peaceful, now that Bartholomew Thorne is dead—or is he? A devious scheme to attack England takes shape, drawing Cat, Anne, and Ross into a battle that could change the course of history.
There’s no doubt about it. Wayne Thomas Batson was born to write pirate books. Most of the characters are quite deep, especially Cat, who was very well done. In the style of Brian Jacques, Batson writes a powerful story that zips along faster than a merchant clipper. My only real problem is with the possible historical inaccuracy of an attack on England, but this is fiction, after all. Although I preferred Isle of Swords, this is definitely a worthy successor.
Sir Wilfried of Ivanhoe returns from France with his friend, King Richard, in the hopes of re-winning his father’s favor and securing the hand of the lovely Rowena. But danger is quick to follow him. Richard’s brother, John of Anjou, is scheming to rebel against Richard, and Ivanhoe soon finds himself embroiled in the feudal battles of merry England. Chases, escapes (some closer than others), plots, renegade knights, and a surprise appearance by Robin of Locksley give this book more than a dash of adventure.
Sounds good, right? But before you rush off and buy it, let me warn you. It has misplaced romance out the ears. One whole subplot is a knight trying to win a Jewess by fair means (at first), then foul. Unless you don’t consider kidnapping her and and letting her father almost be tortured foul . . . Nothing inappropriate actually happens, but it’s up to you whether you want to wade through all the long talks between them.
Now, on a happier note, there’s some rip-snorting adventure in here. Well-written, edge of your chair, “What’s going to happen next?” adventure. With enough comedy to keep things from getting too heavy. True, it’s written in the older style, but there are very few classics that aren’t, and it lends so much to the story.
Young Bisky the mouse and his friends at Redwall are determined to find the four great jewels that were hidden long ago by Gonff, the prince of thieves. Unfortunately, this treasure is also sought after by the raven Korvus Skurr and his hoard of sinister Doomwytes. Solving riddles, braving danger, and meeting many allies along the way, the Redwallers may still be up against more than they bargained for.
I must admit I didn’t go into Doomwyte expecting much. However, I ended up pleasantly surprised. Several funny moments, some riddles, plenty of adventure, and a new sort of villainous threat. I think what really pulled it off for me, though, is the lack of character stereotypes. After so many books in the series, there starts to be almost a standard for “the abbot character,” “the hero character,” and so on. But this one felt fresh and different, while still keeping in the same general feel as the other books. I’d say Doomwyte is worthy to sit on the shelf with the rest of the Redwall series.