Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: DragonKnight

DragonKnight by Donita K. Paul

Recommended For: Ages 10-Adult

Rating: PG (mild action violence and other fantasy elements)

Before vowing his allegiance to Wulder as a knight, Bardon heads to the mountains for solitude. His life is suddenly complicated by a woman and her granddaughter, N’Rae, on a mission to rescue the woman’s son trapped in a chamber of sleep. Bardon learns that more of Paladin’s knights are imprisoned–and suspects one of them is Dragon Keeper Kale’s missing father.

The band travels north, uncertain of their destination and encountering numerous perils. When they unlock the chamber, they discover a dozen knights–who cannot be awakened. The journal holding the secret to rousing them is in an unknown language. How can they find the help they need, and overcome even graver obstacles, to rescue the knights?

Return to the land of dragons and magic you discovered in
DragonSpell and DragonQuest, in this finely crafted and memorable work of fantasy fiction with a core of eternal truth. 

DragonKnight has been my favorite Dragon Keeper book so far. The first two took me several weeks to get through, but this one took less than a week, leaving me disappointed I didn't have a violin lesson this week and so no good reason to go by the library for the second time in a week. Perhaps it was because there was a lot more of Bardon, perhaps because it contains a little bit of romance, perhaps it's just a more interesting story...I don't know, it's just the first one that left me desperate to read the next book.

Writing: 4/5

The writing of DragonKnight isn't really any different from that of DragonQuest. Descriptions are still somewhat lacking, but the story itself is fairly well told.

Setting: 5/5

Same as before, excellent worldbuilding. Amara feels like a familiar place by now. There was again the development of yet another race, the minnekins, which are considered by most to be a myth. There was also deeper insight into the feelings of the people toward half-breeds. This is quite instrumental in Bardon's character. There aren't any contradictions in the worldbuilding, and it all works well together.

Plot: 4.5/5

I don't go to the full fifth point because it really wasn't much different in structure or pacing from the others, but I enjoyed it much more. Bardon's unwilling quest to find N'Rae's father was somehow more compelling than Kale's quests. I do wish Kale had been in it for more than the last quarter, but still, I loved it. As I mentioned before, there is a bit of romance in it. It was clean and sweet, and an addition to the other plot elements, which is precisely how I like it and only caused me to love the story more. The level of intensity again was pretty even throughout the whole book, but the end did seem a bit more dangerous due to the appearance of Pretender.

Character Development: 5/5

The characters are terrific! Toopka, like Kale, didn't come in until the last quarter, but the entrance of N'Rae made up for that. As Kale says, she's a grown up Toopka. N'Rae's beauty does attract attention and so Bardon often warns her in a big brotherly fashion of men that may be up to no good, but it was never anything that made me uncomfortable, sensitive reader that I am. There is a lot more of Bardon, as the majority of the book is from his perspective. Kale has matured as she grew up, Regidor has a decent amount of involvement in the story, and the other minor characters add personality to the group. There wasn't much of Dar, but I can get over it.

DragonKnight is an excellent fantasy book, and I recommend it for anyone who likes fantasy.

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