John H. Carroll
on May 28, 2016 :
This is the first book in the Circles of Light Series. It is epic fantasy safe for young adults, though there is mild fantasy violence. If you're looking for books to keep your interest for lots of reading that may keep you up well past your bedtime, you've found it here.
Tika is a young slave girl with a mysterious past. After escaping from her slavery to almost certain death, she discovers the fascinating world of dragons. Those dragons are the best part of the story. I could tell the author spent a lot of time daydreaming about them and what their existence would be like.
The story begins immediately with Tika's discovery of those dragons. She forms a bond (thus the title name) with one and her life intertwines with the species from that point on. You learn about the dragons and about Tika for a chapter or two, giving you the foundation for the rest of the story.
While Tika is the main character, the story that follows is largely about the dragons. They have personalities as big as they are. The characters of the dragons are distinct. It's easy to fall in love with some and dislike others with a passion. Not surprisingly, they aren't all happy about having a human among them, a fact that becomes pivotal in the events that follow.
Once much of the dragon's story is presented, the plot switches back to Tika, who may be more than just a runaway slave girl. Tika is a strong and courageous woman without being a Mary Sue. She's capable and talented, but inexperienced. There are other strong women in the story whose conversations move the plot forward, rather than focusing on relationships and the such. Basically, the author avoids the pitfalls that plague so many other strong female leads.
Upon reaching a new destination midway through the book, the rest of the world begins opening up. The reader gets to meet some of the other races in the world. It's a fascinating world too with exotic geographies and civilizations that are touched upon without bogging down into mind-numbing world-building.
The villain and some of the evil races are quite easy to dislike. The villain's personality is well developed and multifaceted rather than being one-dimensional. There's also a good deal of mystery as to his past.
The ending closes the book well with excitement and suspense. It leads one to want the next story. The one negative I found was that it was difficult to keep track of the names on occasion as a few of them sound similar. But that was resolved as the personalities developed. Each character is very much their own and their voices are distinct from each other.
One of the things I liked is the mystery involved with every character, who they are and why they are that way. The author teases the reader with hints, but never fully reveals what the past may hold. There are stories to develop through the rest of the series.
E.M. Sinclair's writing is daydreamy (yes, that's a word). You can see the fascination she has in exploring her world with her characters. The book is professional quality and well edited. I highly recommend for all ages.
(review of free book)
on Oct. 9, 2012 :
Although I was never excited about reading about dragons, this book made me reconsider my position. The story kept me curious enough to keep on reading to the very end. The plot was sound, the characters was engaging as well as interesting. The writing was clear enough too follow without getting confused on what was being said or described. I enjoyed reading this book.
I look forward on finding out what happens next to our little—and big heros—in the next book!
(review of free book)
on Aug. 7, 2012 :
A decent story if you want to escape into a fantasy world for a day and don't mind being dragged along for 5 more volumns afterwards. Toward the end of the 1st book I noticed a number of typographical errors. The story has a lot of characters to keep track of and many of them are rather one-sided and undeveloped. There are some nice imaginative elements to the world building, but it is pure escapist pap, with little literary or philosophical depth. There was an opportunity for a stimulating exploration of pacifism, but it is presented in such a simplistic way that it doesn't even seem like a real struggle for Min to abandon his belief in pacifism. E. M. Sinclair should have at least presented some of the counter arguments of Martin Luther King Jr and Gandhi before having the protagonists abandon pacifism. Finally, I found the character development of Rakhi, the principal antagonist, very weak. I would have liked to understand why he turned to evil and what happened between him and his sister in their youth.
(review of free book)