Melinda Le Baron
on May 16, 2012 :
What a beautiful, charming story this is. Part fairytale, part fantasy, exceptionally moving, it is the story of a girl raised by a dragon from the time that she's six years old. At first, a very reluctant dragon. What do dragons know about raising kids anyway? But she has no one else, because her family all died in a fire and there's no other family to speak of. So they are stuck together after the village tries to feed her to the dragon to appease it so that it will stop the draught killing the crops and livestock and soon the people. But the dragon doesn't kill her. The rest of the story is about the relationship of the girl and the dragon. How he raises her to be self sufficient and smart. She teaches the dragon about love and caring for someone else. Unfortunately there is one of the bad guys left over from the Books of Deacon, who continuously plots the deaths of Jade and Halfax - the girl and her dragon. He constantly has something going on to wipe them out, but the girl and the dragon are smart, resourceful and lucky. They kind of grow up together - each learned different things.
The ending to the story is bittersweet, while you know it should happen, it still brings a tear to the eye, but wait it's not over. The last part's the sweet part and that brings a few tears as well. All in all the story was charmingly perfect. I loved Jade and Halfax, her dragon, they were some of the best characters I've seen outside the book of Deacon - now I want a dragon too! I've got room for it in the pasture.
Just in Lallo's other books, his characterization is brilliant; leaping right of the page these folk are truly 3D technicolor marvels of excellence. Even the personality of Halfax the dragon was fully formed and wonderful. There's a scene in they book when he's found armoured men on horseback hunting him. So instead of using his stealth, he knows they expect a ravening beast, so he acts the part. He stomps. He bellows. He breathes fire. He knocks them down. They run away. It was hilarious! He laughs at them as they are scurrying off and says " Don't ever come back to this forest or I will eat you!", or something like that. How good is that? That a dragon gets to play with humans for a while without really hurting them. Only Lallo could think up something like that for a dragon personality. Jade was fabulous too. She learned all kinds of things and became very pragmatic and smart but she always loved Halfax like a father and he loved her right back. Just like Myranda and Myn in the Books of Deacon. Their relationship was special in so many ways.
The pacing of the story was swift which kept you turning the pages of this too short story until it was through. The transitions between character POV was smooth as silk. There were a number of characters that you hopped between, but they were so distinct, and the changes done so well that the story just flowed along without a hitch - just silky smooth. The dialogue in the story is masterful. You can absolutely tell which character it is by hearing them speak. Every character, even secondary and tertiary characters had pronounced ways of speaking. This added to the brilliant characterization already there and made each character that much more credible. I feel like I could be in a dark room and hear one of them speak, and know who it is.
All in all, I would recommend this book to everyone who can read. Read it for yourself, then read it to your children. It's about the love between parent and child. It's about the love between husband and wife. It's about love undying. It's also about the bad people out there who want to put good things to an end, and the things you need to do to protect yourself and your loved ones from them. These are things your kids should know. There are bad people out there. It's not all sunshine and roses, unfortunately. So read them this story, but first read it yourself. If you don't have kids, you should absolutely read it. It is a beautiful story. Buy it for yourself. Think of it as a gift to yourself. Buy the Books of Deacon too and read them first. Lallo has to be the most under-rated author on the market. My prediction is he'll be the next Tolkein in no time. Just you wait and see!
(reviewed 7 days after purchase)
on April 24, 2012 :
Read Jospeh's other 3 books first, I did and I was able to enjoy this read. if there is one fault it's to short just when your getting wrapped up in the story He leaves you wanting more, and with more questions. Perhaps if we all ask real nice we can get another wonderful read
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)