Book Review: DragonSpell

DragonSpell
DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book so much! The magic and dragons and quests are just perfect, but the best parts are the spiritual themes and wisdom that run through the book. There is such a depth and beauty to the writing, and I was so pleased with the echoes of Christianity!

Kale is a young slave-girl who is mysteriously drawn to dragon’s eggs. She is sent on a quest to retrieve a valuable egg from an evil wizard, but her mission is not as straight-forward as it seems. Although she has help along the way, Kale is sometimes unsure whether she can trust her new friends, and tensions run high as the group learns to rely on one another in sticky situations.

Kale has a lot of learning to do, since she has had very little education and no experience of the outside world. She learns about new races of people similar to dwarves and giants, and she finds more power and magical ability within herself than she thought possible. Most importantly, she learns to trust in God (known as Wulder in the book) to keep her, guide her, and give her strength. She learns to pray, and accept the hardships of her quest.

Kale is just a wonderful character! I wasn’t immediately drawn to her in the first chapters because she repeats a lot of the same questions and has trouble trusting people, but she gets over that pretty quickly and then I warmed up to her a lot. She struggles and fights and endures through so many adventures in this book; I was really cheering her on. I love how she knows almost nothing about questing or dragons or anything in the beginning, so we get to learn about this fantasy world right along with her. She’s curious and kind and brave; the perfect heroine for a dragon adventure. I just love her!

The dragons in this book are so perfect! We meet baby dragons, adult dragons, evil dragons, and they are all wonderfully written. They all have different abilities and magical properties. Some minor dragons can heal, or sing, or breathe ice or fire. Every one is different, with different coloring and personalities. The dragons are just brilliant! I really connected with several of the dragon characters and grew to love them.

The world building for this book is amazing! There are 7 higher races, who all have different looks and traits. Some are similar to dwarves or giants, but others are entirely original, like the race that can clothe themselves with light. Then there are the 7 lower races, which are evil creations of darkness, and they are just as gruesome and frightening as the high races are good and beautiful. Every race and every character is so original and well-rounded and interesting! I can’t wait to read the rest of the books just to find out more about this rich world!

The plot steals some elements from classic fantasy tales. There’s the bumbling wizard who is stuck in a cave, sitting and thinking, trying to find a way through; very reminiscent of Gandalf in Moria. There’s the kindly Granny Noon, an old hermit woman from the forest who gives them advice and useful gifts at the beginning of their quest; which of course, has been a fairy tale trope for centuries. There’s the gatekeeper who refuses them entrance until he sees their credentials, almost exactly like the gatekeeper of the Emerald City in Oz.

But there are other entirely original plot points which surprised and amazed me! There were spells and magic that were entirely new, elements that behaved in wild ways and surprised me, and especially characters who delighted me with their inexplicable abilities and powers!

My only problem was that sometimes, not often, the writing would point out the obvious, and sometimes repeat things that had already been said. Other than that the writing was entrancing and exciting. The characters are brilliantly written, and I especially loved the humorous dialogue!

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series soon!

View all my reviews

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