Saturday, March 19, 2011

The DragonKeeper Chronicles

For those of you who love dragons, fantasy, and Christian allegory, Donita K. Paul's DragonKeeper Chronicles series is definitely worth reading. (I have only finished the first three books, but I can't wait to read the last two.) The books are a cross between Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern fantasy series, and J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord of the Rings fantasy-adventures, but with an overtly Christian worldview.

When Kale, a slave-girl, finds a valuable dragon egg, her masters send her to deliver the egg to the Hall, where she imagines she will become a servant. However, a wrong turn leads to her capture and subsequent rescue. As she travels with her rescuers, she learns "Wulder," the creator, is not a child's myth, but a real being. She also learns her destiny is to be the DragonKeeper and train as a wizard. She rejoices in her new-found freedom, and chooses to join Paladin (an allegorical Christ-figure), and live her life performing whatever tasks Wulder places in front of her.

All of the books center around the fight between Paladin and other followers of Wulder, and the evil Wizard Risto and his minions. In the first two books, (DragonSpell and DragonQuest), Kale, uses her roles as DragonKeeper, and wizard-in-training, to help in the battles between good and evil. She is aided by a unique and heroic band of companions, including tiny, flying dragons, an eccentric wizard, a fashionable and kind doneel, and graceful, elf-like emerlindians.

In DragonKnight, the third book, the focus switches to Bardon, a brave but troubled young man, with a mysterious past. He hopes to be a knight, but finds himself himself constantly challenged by new quests.

DragonKnight ends with several family reunions, and a budding romance between Kale and Bardon. The romance is only hinted at through most of book three, and Bardon always conducts himself as a perfect gentleman.

What I Like: Paul's books are full of action, believable characters, and plot twists. They are each epic fantasies, with satisfying endings. There are lots of characters to like and it is easy to become lost in the world of Amara. I can't wait to read the last two books in the series!

Paul has quite an imagination, and dreams up creatures by turns bizarre, lovable, funny and terrifying.

I especially like the lessons Paladin teaches Kale and Bardon. They are true to biblical principles, and even echo biblical passages at times. Kale and Bardon aren't perfect, but they love Paladin and Wulder, and are always open to correction.

What I Dislike: The series is quite detailed, and just keeping the seven "high races" and seven "low races" straight is a challenge. Then, when Paul starts adding names, alliances, and relationships to the story, it is easy to become lost. Also, Paul chose not to capitalize the names of the races, which makes reading even more confusing at first. The books do include a glossary, which may help to preview before reading.

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: 10 and up, but even younger readers may enjoy it if they are good readers and don't get lost in the details.

Publisher Info: Waterbrook Press, 2004,2005,2006; ISBN: 1-57856-823-4 (DragonSpell); Paperback, 334-398 pages, $13.99

Buy DragonSpell Now at for $10.99
Buy DragonQuest Now at for $10.99
Buy DragonKnight Now at for $10.99

OR Buy DragonSpell at for $10.10.
Buy DragonQuest at for $5.60.
Buy DragonKnight at for $5.60.

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1 comment:

Angie B said...

Hi Erin,

I was the reader who recommended this series to you way back in February. I'm glad you've enjoyed the first few as much as I did, but I felt I should warn you about the later books. By the fifth book (Dragonlight), whatever Christian allegory Paul was employing has gotten very muddled. I'm not sure anymore who Palladin is meant to represent, but it seems unlikely it is the Christian image of Christ. I also purchased and read her two later books (The Vanishing Sculptor & Dragons of the Valley) and I had to honestly wonder if it was the same author. To me, her writing style has become ponderous and feels contrived and choppy. I'm only mentioning this because I think those first few books are some of the better dragon tales out there (especially for Christian parents) and I'd hate for someone to start with one of her later books, and make a judgment based on these. Obviously, this is just one person's opinion but I thought I'd put in my two cents worth!