Monday, July 21, 2008

DragonLight 1: Intro

Donita K. Paul's DragonLight is the conclusion of her "DragonKeeper Chronicles" series. Since I haven't read the earlier books, it was a bit confusing to jump right in, but at least there are a cast of characters in the front and a glossary in the back. I'd still suggest starting with the first book.

Anyway, after a lot of unpleasantness, relative peace and niceness have been restored to Amara, which sounds as though boredom will ensue. Not so. After a bracing bit of pest control, Kale (Heroine, Dragon Keeper, Light Wizard, and Woman With a Secret Even She Doesn't Know About) discovers that her husband is taking her off on an extended date that could get them both killed. He sure knows how to show a lady a good time.

The date involves a quest to discover a lost colony of extra-smart dragons, which leads us to ask

1. If they're extra-smart, how come they got lost, and en masse yet?
2. If they got lost anyway, did they perhaps have a good reason, so they should be left alone?

However, Bardon (Kale's Husband, Knight, Spouter of Wisdom, Sufferer of Cooties on Steroids) has discovered a group of people living together in regimented conformity and led by a group who think they're God's gift to God. (Thereby proving that even the Almighty enjoys a gag gift on occasion.) Bardon thinks fast: they haven't sued him, so they aren't lawyers. They haven't pulled a spreadsheet on him, so they aren't accountants. That means they must be either cultists or members of MoveOn. In either case, they are a threat to the realm, for they will eventually leave their commune and clog up the airports.

He reports the matter to Paladin ("Pal" to his friends), who immediately recognizes the grave fashion risk involved and orders Bardon to find an "expendable sucker" (royal jargon for "hero") to infiltrate the group off-camera. (This is, after all, a family-friendly book.) But he also orders Bardon to go ahead with the working date, knowing that there's nothing as romantic as stumbling onto a whole colony of misplaced dragons.

However, the trip has barely started when the true evil rears its head--and no one has the wit to realize it but the reader. It begins with Regidor, one of the smart dragons--yes, the same kind as the lost guys: they sent him out for pizza and he couldn't find his way back. Anyway, he has invented a small forerunner of a TV or at least a Video iPod. Faster than you can say, "And now a word from our sponsor," a group of dinky black dragons shows up and starts annoying everyone. (The book blames this on some ancient legend about a humungous dragon with a kind of psoriasis--a poor cover story.)

Anyway, the good guys assemble a team:
Kale and Bardon, Specialists in Romance and Surviving Bad Stuff (almost redundant);
Regidor, Specialist in Wandering Way Off and Saying, "Can You Hear Me Now?"
Gilda, Regidor's wife, Specialist in Making Others Want to Survive so They Can Kill Her Afterward;
Sir Dar, Specialist in Cooking and in Talking People to Death;
Brunstetter, Specialist in Being Tall and Jovially Killing Things;
Toopka, Specialist in Being Cute Yet Mysterious;
Sittiponder, Specialist in Babysitting Toopka and in Not Being Deceived by Appearances.

(And a cast of thousands.)

Will they find the missing dragons? Will the cult find them first and bury them in tracts? Will someone turn out to be a Catholic who's read Bel and the Dragon and therefore knows an amusing way to dispatch a psoriatic pseudo-saurian?

What do I look like, a blabbermouth? Read the book, already!

Even more rollicking adventure with the CSFF Team:
Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
* Beth Goddard
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Terri Main
* Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
* Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Deena Peterson
* Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
* Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams


Terri said...

I love your sense of humor. I was a bit more serious on my blog. Although, I do wonder, at what point dragons became cuddly pets you could stick in your pocket.


CherryBlossomMJ said...

If I wasn't already planning to read the book, I would after reading this post.

Donita K. Paul said...

Steve, I read this and laughed. Afterward, I chuckled remembering some of your pithy lines. I read it again, nodding, "Yes! Exactly! He gets it!" (The abundance of exclamation points is due to the rigid restriction on said exclamation points when writing for publication.) Thanks for not taking the book too seriously. And we got gypped out of slaying Gilda, didn't we?

Shannon said...

Very clever!!! Thanks, Steve!

Brandon Barr said...

Loved the post. Made me smile the entire time!

Robert Treskillard said...

Great review! Thanks!

cathikin said...

As always, I find your sense of humor quite entertaining. This time not much of the review is fake. Your kennings are superb! What a way to sum up the characters.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

Loved this! Now I feel rather bad for my pessimistic late-night rambling post. Your post reminded me of why I love these books and try to foist them upon unsuspecting siblings.

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