In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
Dragons of the Valley by Donita K Paul is a continuation of her Dragons Series, young-to-young adult fantasy novels that present allegorical stories of faith and courage in the face of sometimes overwhelming opposition. Ms. Paul's novels are fun and inventive, taking place in a world completely of her own making with various higher and lower races of beings, as well as creatures galore; some familiar in concept while others are more original.
I had read Dragon Light, which I believe must be several novels back in the series and really enjoyed it, though admittedly I had a little trouble jumping in midstream in her continuing storyline--figuring out what was going on and who was who. With patience I figured out the good guys and bad guys and enjoyed the book.
Again, I found myself having to get my sea legs before I could get into the story. But that's just the way it is when you come into a series way down the line and are unfamiliar with the basic characters. The hero in Dragons of the Valley seems to have come from the Vanishing Sculptor; one or two novels back...so just understand where your starting in it before you get frustrated. Adding to that was the need to come up to speed on who the races and creatures are as well...however there is a character index in the back to help with this. As always, Donita weaves a wonderful tale that younger readers and fantasy fans will enjoy. Personally, I had some difficulty maintaining my interest, because I kept having to refer to the character index in order to stay up to speed :) I suppose if I had began Lord of the Rings at The Two Towers I would have faired no better. However, Ms. Paul's novel is full of interesting characters, intrigue and lots of action. I definitely recommend giving it a read if you enjoy fantasy with christian allegory.
What others are saying about Dragons of the Valley:
Chiril is a peaceful prosperous land. However the tranquility ends when an army invades the country. Tipper Schope must hide three statues because if the enemy gets it will mean the end of her nation as she knows it. She enlists her Bealomondore the artist to help her with her quest. He understands he must wield a sword like he did a brush.
At the same time that the terrible foe marches into Chiril, a horrific beast is stalking and killing anyone in its path. No one is safe from the predatory Grawl. Time is running out for the two heroes and their companions as they struggle to reach the Valley of the Dragons where they plan to leave the statues.
The latest inspiration dragon fantasy (see Dragonknight and Dragonquest) is a fabulous tale that, as always in a Donita K. Paul thriller, takes the audience soaring across the author's vivid mythical landscape. As chaos threatens the land, Tipper and Bealomondore are heroic figures; not because they may succeed, but due to risking their lives against overwhelming odds as for instance a peace loving artist picks up the sword. Action-packed with deadly perils from outside coming in and inside expanding out and with a strong cast especially the champions, fans will need a seat belt as this fast-paced novel never takes a respite.