Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Review: The Dragons of Chiril
Before DragonSpell, on a different continent and a different time, a young emerlindian’s desperate decision threatens to disrupt the foundation of the world.
Tipper has been caring for her family’s estate for years now, ever since her father disappeared, making a living by selling off his famous artwork. Then she learns that three statues she sold were carved from an ancient foundation stone, and the fabric of her reality is crumbling.
She must free her father and save the world. But she can’t do it alone.
Her ragtag band of adventurers includes Beccaroon, a giant parrot; Bealomondore, an aristocratic young artist; a handsome dragonkeeper prince; the Wizard Fenworth; and the tumanhofer librarian Librettowit. Together they travel through valleys and kingdoms and consort with purveyors of good and agents of evil to find and reunite the missing statues. Will they learn to rely on Wulder’s grace and guidance along the way? (Description taken from Amazon.com.)
Before I say anything about the actual book, if you look at the cover art, there's a little white line at the bottom. Look ever closer, and you'll see the line is actually words. "Previously released as The Vanishing Sculptor."
Seeing as I've already read this book, and I'm reading it again to review it, maybe that will affect my review. Maybe not. But let's give it a go.
If there was one word to describe this book—just one—it would be engrossing. That doesn't mean this book is a page-turner. It doesn't mean that The Dragons of Chiril is action-packed. But I have to give it to Paul—even the scenes normally labeled "boring" are touched by the clever and beautiful prose.
That's one of the big pluses of this book. The prose is written in a style that makes it easy to read. An engrossing style. The description is magnificent, as always, and the writing moves the book along, even if nothing is happening.
The world-building was well done, if confusing at times. There are seven different races (I think, I can never keep them straight), and seven low races, as well as a collection of new words for drinks & foods, places, things, etc.
And, of course, we have the usual motley host—a wizard with a wandering thought process, a often grumpy librarian, a somewhat hysterical emerlindian girl (who happens to be the main character), a vanishing sculptor (which is why the previous title for this book was much more accurate), a younger tumanhofer artist who adores the older artist's work, a charming, dashing young dragonkeeper, a lady with the most bizarre idea of logic, and many more.
All of the characters, to some extent, were lovable and three-dimensional. I especially enjoyed Wizard Fenworth and Lady Peg (maybe because I identified with them so much). They were fantastic.
And really, characters are what drove the story, in this novel.
The plot had high stakes. The end of the world. Death of loved ones. And yet, it didn't quite move along as it should have, which shows the more character-driven aspects of this tale.
This was one of the things that made it simply "engrossing" but not amazing and fast-paced. And besides this, not enough went wrong. I kept thinking, "This is too easy." And that's never a good thing.
Besides this, the main character rather annoyed me. She, like I mentioned earlier, was somewhat of a flighty, hysterical person. When trouble came around, she screamed and jumped around—she wasn't much of a strong character. She was portrayed as more strong-willed, but she never quite attained it, in my mind.
The message of this story was good, but not powerful. It didn't impact me, as a reader. Great morals are often embedded in character and plot and the decisions themselves—in this case, the morals were quoted straight from this world's Bible, the Tomes. It felt like I was being cheated of a good story, like the author, instead of taking the time to deeply embed messages in the characters themselves, just put it in there by quotes from some Wulder-following characters. While I know this wasn't true, I still felt a little frustrated by it.
All in all, it was a good yarn, but not too powerful. Read it, if you don't mind a plot that doesn't move too fast. It's still a good tale.
Rated 8 out of 10.
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah's BloggingForBooks program. I was not required to write a positive review.)
Also, please take the time to rate my review below. If you rank it, you are entered for a chance to win a free copy of The Dragons of Chiril!