Wednesday, March 2, 2011

[Book Review] "Dragons of the Valley" by Donita K. Paul

Note: This book was provided free for review by Blogging for Books.

As a lover of fantasy novels, mostly in the vein of C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Terry Brooks, and Stephen R. Lawhead, I was interested in new Christian fantasy from someone I had not read before. What happened was that it took me a long time to get into the book. I finally figured out that this book is the second book in a series and that I had missed much of who the characters were by not reading the first. If you do pick up this book, you would do well to read "The Vanishing Sculptor" first to understand the world of Chiril and the characters as this book continues to allude to the events of the first book.
With all that, I did not really get into the book until about three quarters of the way through, when suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a battlefield without realizing how. The characters seem contrived and not all that thought out. The author seems to be trying to copy Lewis in the parallel aspects of creating a fantasy world with a supreme creator being, but it still seems superficial. I did not find the writing all that great, as it was hard to follow. I understand the author was a former schoolteacher, but I could not follow her writing style. The book sort of just ended in a flourish, supposedly indicating that only a miracle from Wulder (the supreme being) would help them win, but then there was not much credit given to Wulder, in the end.
In Summary, as Christian fantasy novels go, it was better than most, but that's not saying much, since there are very few to begin with. You typically only have Lewis, Tolkien, and Lawhead to really compare with. I would recommend it as a starter fantasy novel, but not one to really sink your teeth into. I hate to be negative on a Christian fantasy novel, but I really did not feel that it was all that enjoyable and I have read a lot of fantasy novels over the years. Teenagers would probably enjoy this over adults.