Before this, I’d only read the Spiderwick Chronicles, which DiTerlizzi illustrated and cowrote with Holly Black. I’ve always been interested in both authors since reading those books but hadn’t picked up more of their work. So, I was happy when a friend loaned me a copy of Kenny & the Dragon to try. I thought I’d love it as much as I did the Spiderwick Chronicles, but, unfortunately, I didn’t.
Kenny & the Dragon, book 1
Kenny is a little rabbit with a very big problem. His two best friends are heading into a battle of legendary proportions—with each other! In one corner there’s Grahame, a well-read and cultured dragon with sophisticated tastes. In the other there’s George, a retired knight and dragon slayer who would be content to spend the rest of his days in his bookshop. Neither really wants to fight, but the village townsfolk are set on removing Grahame from their midst and calling George out of retirement. Can Kenny avert disaster?
Hey!! I read a story by someone I follow on here! 😊 I follow Sarah’s blog, Brainfluff. Back in the summer, she posted Amazon links to her short story, “Picky Eaters,” intending to lighten up the many worries we were (and are) dealing with in 2020. I read the story in August and really liked it.
Picky Eaters, part 1
Castellan the Black, now better known as Casta the Grey, has led an eventful life, but these days he’s content to live alone in his mountaintop lair, fending off occasional attacks from the food and waiting to die. At least, that’s what he tells himself.
I was excited for this one. I’m a fan of Hartman’s Seraphina duology, which is a YA fantasy duology about a girl trying to accept who she is. That duology is set in a world where dragons can adopt human form, but in some countries in the world, relation between humans and dragons is quite tense.
I enjoyed those books for their detailed writing and for introducing me to such an interesting world, which we get to explore more in the duology’s second book, Shadow Scale, which explores more of the world as well as the region where the dragons live.
I was sad when the duology ended, but was excited and hopeful when I heard of Tess of the Road, a new book set in the same world. I once again looked forward to Hartman’s detailed writing and to explore more of the world. But sadly, I didn’t enjoy Tess’s book as much as Seraphina’s.
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
My plan was to post this earlier in September, but since I was busy and hardly around in that month, this post is late and popping up in October. I love fantasy but haven’t read many fantasy novels to always have unique recommendations for the topics in this meme, so I usually wait until the end of the month to do my post so I can read everyone else’s and get recommendations from them. Doing this has caused me to add loads of books to my TBR. Well, maybe not loads, but definitely many.
I was excited for this topic because dragons are one of my favorite fantastical creatures. They come in many shapes and sizes with various abilities. Sometimes they contain knowledge and wisdom vaster than any human or other creature; sometimes they are simply animals, large and powerful or small and quick but cunning; other times they are spiritual beings or creatures able to take on human form.
September’s theme (late again): Dragons
The Tough Guide advises that Dragons are ‘very large scaly beings with wings and long spiky tails, capable of breathing fire through their mouths. They can be almost any colour or combination of colours, though green, red and black are preferred. They are always very old. Most of them seem to have flown to Fantasyland aeons ago across the void. This migration was almost certainly to get away from our world, where people would insist that they were dangerous monsters that had to be exterminated. Dragons, as all Fantasyland knows, are no such thing.’ Or are they?
One of the best ways to see how much you’ve changed over the years is to return to a book you’ve read and see how much your opinions of it has changed. I read this book 3 years ago and though my opinions of it aren’t drastically different now, they have altered and developed and some new ones have sprouted.
I read this for the Authorathon readathon back in April. My plan was to read Eon and immediately start on its sequel, Eona, but I had so many thoughts when done with Eon that I was unable to move on to Eona until I’d jotted down my thoughts. I debated posting a review since I don’t always review books I reread if I’ve already posted a review of it on here, but there are many things I want to point out and hopefully encourage others to read this book that I decided to post a new review. I’ll leave my old one up because I like revisiting my old thoughts.
The summary here is the same that I used in my old review:
Eon is about a girl masquerading as boy so that she can train in the arts of dragon magic. Set in a culture similar to the Chinese, Eon must work to become apprentice to one of the eleven Dragoneyes (masters) that are connected to the dragons: Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig, Rat. There are twelve dragons, each for a particular cardinal point, but the Dragon dragon has not been seen for several years and is believed to have disappeared. There is no Dragoneye for the Dragon dragon.
Only men are allowed to train to become an apprentice and gain the title of Dragoneye, hence Eon’s disguise as a boy. At the time when Eon decides to compete for the position of apprentice, the Rat dragon is in ascendant. This occurs at the beginning of the year and the Dragoneye connected to the ascending dragon will be most powerful for that entire year. As luck would have it, Eon is almost picked as apprentice for the Rat dragon, but things do not go as planned and something unexpected occurs.
A beautiful graphic novel filled with glossy pictures of dragons is sure to entice anyone who loves fantasy and art and, of course, dragons!
A reporter documents his journey through Europe in a travel journal as he searches for evidence of dragons. Blessed with the ability to see the unseen, he draws what he witnesses in his journal and jots down quick notes alongside his illustrations. He is later chosen to discover what has happened to an exploration party, and the assignment takes him through Scandinavia and Asia, where he continues his documentation and happens upon an amazing race that might be connected to dragons.
My first foray into graphic novels and comics kicks off with In Search of Lost Dragons by Élian Black’Mor and Carine-M. This book was first published in France in November 2005 as Sur La Piste Des Dragons Oublies, and was translated into English and published by Dynamite Entertainment this year in February.
I discovered this book in a Shelf Awareness newsletter (what would I do without that newsletter) that contained a book trailer for it (see below). I usually don’t pay much attention to book trailers because they never get me hyped but this one did. The mention of dragons caught my attention and the shots of pages from the book excited me so much that I bought it soon after it was published.
I was surprised when I received a copy of Rachel Hartman’s Shadow Scale in the mail. I’d sent a request for an ARC after seeing a giveaway in a Shelf Awareness newsletter. Once I got it, I delayed reading. I knew that if I started reading immediately, I’d probably get stuck in a fantasy rut and forget about completing Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before, a book on habits. Also, I had to reread Seraphina, the first in the series to acclimate myself to the story once again. I even read the prequel, The Audition, though it didn’t add much to the story, I find. But reading the books back-to-back helped me to keep up with the story.
Re-reading Seraphina made me appreciate the story more. Though I enjoyed my first read, I didn’t find the story fulfilling because I rushed through it. This time I read quickly but also paid attention and thus grew to admire both Hartman’s world building and Seraphina’s strength and gumption. These elements are heightened in Shadow Scale, which is adventurous where Seraphina is more introspective. The adventures Seraphina embarks on while searching for the half-dragons requires her to draw on all her skills and also exposes the foundation of Hartman’s world of dragons.
A quick recount: (spoilers)
Shadow Scale picks up a few months after the events is Seraphina. The dragon civil war is in full swing. Demands have been made for the Comonot to return to Tanamoot to be excised and punished but Princess Glisselda refuses to turn him over, which places Goredd in danger of a dragon attack. Since Goredd doesn’t have much dracomachia machines, or many men knowledgeable in fighting dragons, they are at a disadvantage. Therefore the Princess, Prince Lucian, and Seraphina were all happy when Orma sent a note detailing a weapon that ityasaaris (a.k.a. half-dragons) can wield to fight the dragons and protect Goredd. The weapon requires that the ityasaaris link their minds using their mind-fire, the source of the special abilities. After having Abdo and Lars test a small version of it, the Princess consents to Seraphina’s search for the ityasaaris she encountered in her mind to bring them to Goredd to help with the war. With the consent, Seraphina hopes to make real the garden she has created in her mind.
In this story, we are introduced to Arren, prince of Enlad, an island in the north of the Earthsea archipelago. Something is causing wizards, sorcerers, and others with magical propensities to lose their abilities. Arren is sent to Roke, the island where wizards are trained, to find out why. Ged Sparrowhawk, who is now Archmage on Roke, decides to go on a quest to solve this problem with Arren in tow. They visit various islands in the South and West Reaches of Earthsea where they try to figure out what is stealing the magic in Earthsea. Finally, with the aid of a dragon, Ged gets an idea of what the cause might be and travels to The Dragon’s Run and Selidor islands to find out. On Selidor, Ged and Arren travel to the land of the dead to resolve the loss of magic. The adventure is a success, Ged returns magicless and retires to his homeland, Gont, and Arren is crowned king of Earthsea.
This is the third book in the Earthsea series and I didn’t like it much. The first book was great, filled with Ged’s adventures as he runs from and then chases his shadow. The second book was not exciting but wasn’t a bore either because Tenar escapes and frees herself. This book too wasn’t a bore but it’s adventure was subdued. For most of the book, the reader is either in Arren’s thoughts or kicking it from a distance with the narrator, simply analyzing the actions of characters and their thought processes.
A few months ago, I was reading one of my Shelf Awareness newsletters when I discovered a new book to read, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I was drawn to the story since it featured dragons that can take on human form. Why did this interest me? Well, it just so happens that a few nights prior to my discovery I had a weird dream about dragons that could become humans so I was elated to find a book that’s based on part of my dream. It’s pretty cool.
Since I’ve just got a Nook Color, I decided to use Seraphina as my guinea pig/test-rat. So instead of skipping off to Barnes & Noble and harassing the booksellers into convincing me to buy a book since I suck at convincing myself sometimes, I instead searched for Seraphina in the Nook books shopping database, clicked “buy”, and download.
It was weird reading on the Nook. Mainly it’s because I’m one of those readers who always look back to the book’s cover while reading. For some reason, I always think that the cover will give me a clue as to what will happen. Other times, I look at the cover to see if it fits the story. It’s a bit difficult to do this on the Nook since it’s easy to lose the page you’re presently reading. Hence the bookmark feature comes in handy.
I’ve just completed Christopher Paolini‘s latest installment in the Inheritance Cycle series, Inheritance, (actually, I completed it about a month ago and have just gotten around to writing this blog but let’s act like I’ve just finished reading it) and a sense of satisfaction engulfs me. Things feel complete. I totally enjoyed the story, long as it is. Despite the drag in the pacing of the storytelling in certain parts, Paolini did a good job of wrapping things up without providing a cheesy ending ( a la JK Rowling).
This last book brought everything full circle, while leaving room for the possibility of spin-offs on various characters. There was a lot that the protagonist, Eragon, had to learn in this series and, in turn, the reader. I was apprehensive because I did not believe that Paolini would succeed in tying all the loose ends together. Thus, after the fight at Dras-Leona, I became a bit anxious because I realized that there were only a few pages left and Paolini seemed to have A) forgotten about Angela B) forgotten to mention Sloan and C) forgotten to mention what the Tree in Ellesmera was to take from Eragon. Fortunately, there was no need for my worries because he smoothly wraps it all up in the final chapters; although, I do believe that at times he took the easy way out in terms of his explanations. For example, the Tree in Ellesmera was supposed to take something from Eragon but in the end, it seems that the she decided not to. I believe she should have. But it seems that she chose not to because Eragon proved himself to be honorable by returning to pay his debts.