on April 25, 2013 :
I got this book as part of an early reviewer program thinking my son would enjoy. I started reading it shortly after it was downloaded and couldn't stop until I finished that afternoon. Even though most of the main characters in this world are Onizards (dragon like creatures) the interaction and details are so human it is hard to remember some are dragons not humans.
The main character Jen is a human who bonds with one of the baby dragons which is not supposed to be possible according to the Onizard Queen who thinks humans are inferior. Her journey and that of the Onizards that help her is fascinating. You can see how the characters grow to become the heroes at the end of the book. It has some surprises but is a very uplifting book and I look forward to reading the other she has written in this world.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on Nov. 3, 2012 :
I won this book as an early reviewer and started reading it right away.
This is a book that will hold you from page one to the very last. The story develops around a human girl, Jena, who lives as a slave in a world ruled by Onizards, dragon-like creatures. When she bonds with one of the hatchlings , her life changes completely. So do the lives of the Onizards.
The characters are well developed and you like them right from the start. Although the story is called "The Zarder", a name for Jena, the book also tells a great deal about the life in the Sandleyr, the home of the Onizards. The story is not limited to Jena alone, which gives the book a nice twist, cause there are some minor plots, which develop nicely along the story.
The official summary of "The Zarder" makes the book sound like an action packed volume, which it isn't. This book isn't about all-time fighting or some quest like most fantasy novels nowadays. But that actually makes it more readable, since the author takes some well-known fantasy elements and combines them to a new fascinating world. And even without fighting this book is sure to grip you until you finish it.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)
Susanna C. Mahoney
on May 17, 2012 :
This is a delightful fairy kingdom tale where once upon a time there was a supreme being who thought of creating a world and was lonely so he created four races of dragons, one for water, one for fire, one for earth and the last for wind. They were of the same race except for their abilities. The world was missing one vital element light and an incident occurs to allow this to be created only through passing the powers to be to the next heir of the kingdom. But for the last ten years there was a loophole and the throne was abducted by the darkness, an embittered daughter who was the fire Queen she was able to claim the title upon transference of the throne and taught the kingdom about the emotions of hatred and she declared laws that all are inferior except the pure.
The kingdom was divided and they used the lies against others. Until one the event when a dragon and human children became victims of the Queen’s hatred and no one would protect them until the mighty son of the fire dragon and others colorful characters united to rescue all from her bullying them.
The plot continues when the exchange occurs and the ruling throne was abandoned and the evil Fire Queen sneaks in and took authority. Now she was full of hatred and demanded all inferior children and humans were to become slaves to her and the other superiors of the kingdom. The earth dragon and human girl became friends along the mighty Delbralfi son of the Fire Queen.
This trio are the main characters who break the hold over them and the kingdom. The inferior earth child dragon, a healer who is not allowed to use her powers is a slave she uses her wits to live for another day. She acts cheery around the embittered Queen faking her happiness which confused the Queen. Thinking how a useless creature could be happy around others full of hate.
The human was unique and now she by the head leader of water, the father Deyraeno of the five hatchling who was not afraid of the Fire Queen decided to break the laws and invited Jena, the human child to the ceremony of bonding with the hatchings in a special ceremony where other wait to bond with a hatchling. Everyone in the kingdom believed humans could never bond but all are in for a surprise as she enters into the leyr to begin the ceremony.
In the author’s words
“The first thing Jena noticed was Rulsaesan, the mother of the eggs. She was hard to miss, as her skin had a vibrant saffron glow, and on the end of her tail was a bright orb that lit up the entire Leyr Grounds. The orb symbolized that she was a Child of Light, and if she had her proper title, she would be called Leyrque, the heart of the Sandleyr and true ruler of the Onizards.
But when the former Leyrque died under mysterious circumstances, no Onizard gained the form of a Child of Light and, since Rulsaesan could not control her powers of ultimate empathy alone, the Fire Queen had taken over the Sandleyr”.
In the ceremony, the son of fire was able to bond with one of the hatchling. Next it was Jena’s turn.
In the author’s words;
"drown! Jena debated running toward Deyraeno, but stopped when she realized that in the confusion, everyone had ignored the last hatchling, a Child of Wind. He was already in water close to his neck, and he was desperately trying to get toward the shallower water near Jena. Quickly, she ran out until the water was deep…”
Jena rescue the fourth dragon but the 5th hatchling injured where the wall fell upon his leg was left to die in the raising rain storm waters. The father was scheming to rescue his baby against the Queen’s rules but first he had to save the human and hide her for risking her life to save a baby. The injured called out to her and bravely she jumped into the high waters and rescued the injured creature. This creature became her bonded and ally. Now they both need to go into hiding for disobeying the Queen.
The adventure continues from there along with lessons of morality and what actions are right and wrong and the consequences of hate to love, good vs. evil and to accept everyone for who they are, do not judged a book or a dragon and human as indicated in this cute little fable. Highly recommend this tale for all ages.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Jan. 26, 2012 :
A beautifully written short story about a magical kingdom inhabited by Onizards and humans. The Onizards are dragon-like creatures which Easton weaves a tale around the power of love and friendship. There are the Children of Fire, Onizards with the power to breathe flames, created from the deepest part of the mountains by the Great Lord of the Sky, the creator of the world. There are the Children of Earth, created from the soil, with the power to heal. From the gusts of the first storm, the Children of Wind were created and from the rain itself, the Children of Water.
The Bonds of love between different Onizards and the bonds of friendship between Onizards and humans make for a powerful and compelling story. The Zardeer is about the friendship and bond between a human girl, Jena, and the Fire Queen's son and a hatchling, Senraeno. The villain is the Fire Queen – she dislikes humans and everyone else. Her son, Delbralfi, has befriended Jena. believing humans are not bond-worthy, the Fire Queen does not expect any alliance between a human and her son, or any Onizard for that matter.
When eggs are about to hatch there is little chance that a human will bond with a hatchling. The long awaited hatchlings are about to hatch as a storm approaches. One egg hatches, a Child of Water, and quickly abond forms with the Fire Queen's son, Delbralfi. Two more eggs hatch, one a Child of Earth, the other a Child of Water. Another egg hatches, a Child of Water, a small male. The storm has weakened a wall near the nesting site. The wall falls and crushes the leg of the hatchling, Jena realizes he will die if he does not bond. The water is rising and no one is helping the hatchling. He is going to drown! Why does Jena feel pain in her leg? Why can she hear the hatchling calling out to her? They have bonded – what one feels, the other feels. The hatchling, Senraeno, calls Jena: Zarder Jena – meaning two legged Onizard.
Believed dead by the Fire Queen and the Onizards, Senraeno and Jena go into hiding. For Jena's safety and the Hatchling this is the best solution for no Onizard has ever bonded with a human. What adventures await the bonded pair? An Onizard, Taltrena, will heal the hatchlings leg, but at what cost? The Fire Queen's son, Delbralfi, has bonded with a hatchling also but his friendships with humans are about to cause trouble. The Fire Queen, disliked by most and feared by all is veiled in secrecy. How does the birth of the hatchlings change the community? Easton weaves intrigue and twists into this wonderful story about hope. Jena represents hope and the Fire Queen depicts the absence of hope. An enveloping story for all ages masterfully written.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)