Entries Categorized as 'Fiction'

Song of the Ovulum

Our rating: *****

This is the story of what happened to the characters from Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire fifteen years after those series ended. Bonnie and Ashley, both anthrozils (humans with dragon traits) have been imprisoned for fear of dragon sympathies. Bonnie and Billy’s twin children have been placed in foster care with no knowledge of their dragon heritage. Walter (Ashley’s husband) is free and trying to break his friends out. But he’s going to need the help of both anthrozil children to pull it off. Add to that a parallel backstory beginning back at Noah’s flood, and you’ve got one wild ride of a sequel. Buckle up.

When I first heard about Bryan Davis’ plans to continue the Dragons in Our Midst books, I was skeptical. The eight-book saga spanned the dimensions, carrying a deep and gripping plot to a satisfying conclusion. Why continue? Well, I shouldn’t have doubted. This may not be the best of the Dragons saga (though it is one of the better ones), but it lays the groundwork for much more to come. I cannot wait to see where this story goes in the future books. Consider my hat held onto.

Dragons of the Valley

Our rating: ****

No sooner have Tipper and her companions put down the threat of uprising—and reunited her father’s three statues—than war begins to threaten the land of Chiril. Men from the country of Baardack have begun to subtly invade, one of the most prominent being a strange, sentient hunter called the Grawl. The three statues, carved from one of the world’s corner stones, must not fall into the enemy’s hands. Bealomondore, a tumanhofer, is one of those responsible for transporting the statues to a safer place. An artist at heart, he must learn to put down his paintbrush and take up his sword to defend Chiril against this new threat.

In some ways this story seemed to feel a little bit different from some of the other books by Mrs. Paul. It isn’t my favorite of hers, but I definitely enjoy it. Truth is woven into the story, and the characters you’ve gotten to know from The Vanishing Sculptor (plus some new ones) have their opportunities to shine. There’s also some great humor involving Fenworth and his kimen companion, the reluctant hero artist, and Lady Peg’s mind as a weapon in itself against the enemy. The final book in the trilogy is scheduled to come out in October!

Harry’s Mad

Our rating: ***½

Harry, an English boy, inherits a pet parrot from his American great-uncle. He quickly discovers that Madison (Mad for short) the parrot has been taught to carry on conversations by his great-uncle, who was a linguistic professor. Mad soon becomes one of the family, but when he gets kidnapped by a burglar, Mad must find a way to get back home.

This is your basic talking-animal-gets-kidnapped-and-has-to-return-home book, but it has two things going for it to set it apart. First, Dick King-Smith is a master of animal books and British humor (or should I say humour?), so Harry’s Mad is just plain fun in that regard. Second, the storyline of an American parrot being adopted by a British family has all sorts of fun with the differences between the two cultures. So while you won’t find anything too profound here, Harry’s Mad should do the trick of delighting young and old alike.

Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball

Our rating: *****

Cora Crowder bumps into coworker Simon Derrick in a very odd bookstore. That night, she discovers a ticket to the Wizards’ Christmas Ball in a book she bought. Simon finds one too. What follows can only be called a lighthearted romance full of fun, twists, quirky characters, and a little magical matchmaking.

Having previously read Donita K. Paul’s fantasy books, I was very excited to see how this contemporary tale turned out. The result is nothing short of delightful. There are just enough hints of fantasy interwoven with the normality to keep things interesting, while the mystery of it all remains and keeps the book standing tippy-toed on solid ground. What we have here is a satisfying story with twists and important lessons aplenty, without either feeling contrived in the least. You can’t get much better than this.

The Charlatan’s Boy

Our rating: ****

The story of Grady, a boy with no knowledge of his family, as he travels with a cheating showman named Floyd. The golden age of their show used to be the “Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp” act, but now that feechiefolk have become a laughable legend, the traveling duo are forced to find other shows make money from. That is, until they hit upon a scheme that will force all of Corenwald to believe in feechies once more—and bring back an opportunity for their favorite bit of show business. As they travel back and forth across the land, Grady also begins to discover things about himself.

I found this story very entertaining. Though some characters appear only for a short time, many of them actually do tie back in later in the book. My main complaint was that most of the book involves them cheating the townspeople in one way or another, but Grady’s conscience still pesters him, and the story ends well. Readers of the Wilderking Trilogy (The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking) can enjoy picking up on subtle tie-ins, while new readers can still enter and enjoy the world of Corenwald. Overall, definitely worth reading. According to the back of the book, there’s a sequel on its way later this year. I shall look forward to it.