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.
Ward's characters breathe. A gifted writer with an awesome sense of atmosphere, place, time, and social class this book is perseptive and compelling. The characters are solid. As you enter the world woven by Ward of shapeshifters, forbidden love, and relationships you will want to keep reading until you are done. Hopefully another book is in the works. I would recommend this book to all fantasy readers as well as those who enjoy a beautifully written novel with well-developed characters.
An amazing collection of short stories that will capture your imagination and make you want more. Well-developed characters, situations, and storyline. I must admit each short story would make an awesome novel all by itself. If you enjoy a story that can be read in one sitting this is your book. You can finish these stories relatively fast but I suggest relishing them one at a time.