So today we're going to have a wee look at DragonKnight by Donita K. Paul. This is book three of a five book series, and technically this blog tour is for the fifth book, DragonLight. However, I haven't read it yet. It's sitting on my bedside table and maybe I'll get a chance to start it tonight.
So yesterday I told the tale of my quest to read this series. If you are--or know--a girl in her young-to-mid teens who loves fantasy, the DragonKeeper Chronicles is a win. But it's not just for girls, for sure. Though Kale, a girl, is the main character, Bardon, a boy, is nearly as major a character throughout the series. Mrs. Paul has created an imaginative world, Amara, with lots of different species AND a bunch of different kinds and sizes of dragons. What's not to love?
I talked a bit about the basic plot of Book One, DragonSpell, and Book Two, DragonQuest, on my blog here a couple of years ago.
Book Three, DragonKnight, is mostly Bardon's tale. He is expecting some time off to meditate and plan his life...wait, let me show you the opening few paragraphs!
"People. Always too many people."
Only the leathery beat of Greer's dragon wings answered Bardon's observation. Cool air rushed against Bardon's face, blowing away the cares of three intense years of training and study.
He squeezed his knees into the riding hooks and leaned forward across the major dragon's neck. Brisk mountain air rose off the snow-topped mountain and blew his dark hair back from his pale face. Soon he should be able to spot the valley Sir Dar had recommended. He needed time alone. The first part of his sabbatical would be spent in isolation.
Bardon put a hand on Greer's purple scales and communicated his desire to locate a lake shaped like a boot.
Looking down at the forested slopes, he speculated on how many of the seven high races populated the area. A smile spread across his face. It was likely that not one civilized being walked this southern part of the Morchain Mountain Range for a hundred miles in any direction.
He saw a ropma scurry across a rocky stream.
"Don't worry, fella. I won't bother you if you don't bother me. I'm taking a break from everyone, both high and low races."
Greer rumbled in his throat, and Bardon placed a hand on the amethystine scales of his dragon's neck. "No, I'm not running away from you, my friend. And in truth, I'm not really running away from civilization. I just need a sabbatical, a long sabbatical."
Well, after all that set-up, you can be certain that Bardon does NOT get a break at all. As soon as he lands by that boot-shaped lake he discovers that he is not alone and that, in fact, he is expected to go on a quest to help an old lady and her young granddaughter to rescue the son/father. Albeit reluctant, Bardon realizes that as a squire who serves Wulder (God in that world), he can't turn these females away in good conscience so he agrees to help.
The coolest thing in the book is the granny, I think. Her name is Granny Kye and she paints, even when they are in danger and should definitely be doing something else, such as running, hiding, or fighting. When she feels compelled to paint, she sets up her easel and paints away.
What's cool about that? Granny Kye is willing to explain. Here's what she says (p. 78):
"I paint the people as I see them. But when I finish, there's more there. While I'm painting, the expressions on their faces and the colors around them become clear in my mind. Some people say that the finished picture looks like the inside of the person instead of just what is seen on the outside."
...some chitchat, then Bardon says:
"What else do you paint?"
"Landscapes, houses... They rarely turn out well." Her face brightened. "Once I painted a neighbor's house, and in the painting, we saw an odd object under a bush. We went to look, and there was the bracelet she'd lost months before."
"So you saw something while you painted that couldn't be seen just by looking?"
Quite a talent, and one that is useful several times.
At any rate, the quest carries on, they find the missing knight...and many others. Who are the other knights? It wouldn't be fair for me to give that away here in this review, so I won't.
Suffice to say that it brings Kale back into the picture for the last few chapters, and that she and Bardon...oh well, never mind. Once again, too much to give away!
Tomorrow I'll have a look at Book Four, DragonFire.