To begin with The Gift of Charms is a charming book. It lures the reader into a world of Dragons. Original, entertaining and a real treat for readers. The world conjured up by the writer is authentic- and even the fictional world is steeped with history. The author craftily uses the history teacher( Ma’am Sancy- a dragon by the way) to explain to the reader the essential background story needed to understand about the Land of Dragor.
Like any good story it starts with a mysterious birth of a Nephan Dragon, Yoshiko. His parents Kiara, and Ketu however save him from Yula, a Hudrah whose job is to destroy any cursed or unhealthy dragon youngling. But, Yoshiko survives, and he goes to school making new friends. He learns to use his Fire, and flying too. He goes through a tough time at school. A mocking, villainous Igorr from another tribe makes it a point to ridicule him whenever he could. Meanwhile he is confronted by a colour changing problem. He begins to seek out answers about himself, and about the Land of Dragor. He meets a wise dragon who lives in seclusion called Guya. This wise old Guya( he is a lot like Gandalf) motivates him to take a test. The preparation for this test is an important part of the story as it portrays Yoshiko’s growth physically and mentally. Physically he develops his fire breathing skills, flying skills, and heat resistance skills, and mentally though subtle he acts maturely to bullies in school and he develops confidence in himself.
After all the training he is ready to face the test, and he passes all of them in flying colours. Then once again, Guya the Dragon hermit reveals his dark secret about meeting a human and how he helped him to stay alive. He tells Yoshiko that his destiny is to save the The Land of Dragor. Guya also tells him about the loss of talent of the dragons, and the only way to save them will be to fly beyond their land to the outside world to meet the human who will give him the charms( or precious stones). Yoshiko because of all his training accomplishes the task, and he saves his land with The Gift of Charms.
What I liked?
I liked the world of Dragor. It was real, and any serious fantasy reader will like the story. The characters were defined well. I felt the dragons were more human in their manner and their speech. One particular part I really enjoyed was the Trail Mountain part. The twists and turns of Yoshiko made me feel as though I was going through the mountain. The language was lucid, and crisp- I was able to finish the book in one single sitting which simply means that this book was really interesting.
What could have been better?
The ending was rather blunt. The author could have taken more time with the climax scenes. It was like, “I need to hurry up with the story, I don’t have any more time to write.” Other than that, it was really enjoyable.
A critical reader will surely find many similarities with popular fantasy fiction. For instance Igorr, and Gandar, are very much like Lucius Malfoy, and Draco Malfoy.( Father and Son- Bad guys.) But that is unavoidable I think- every writer is influenced at least unconsciously. As a book intended for the young audience, the author has consciously incorporated situations in the novel to help young people to cope up in school and to improve their self-confidence. It will also motivate young people to follow their dreams, but in an honest and righteous way. A hallmark of any good children’s novel is that it should be entertaining, morally sound, and must have an authentic fantasy world. This book covers it all. Julia Suzuki I am waiting for the next book. Preorder today!
Series title: The Land of Dragor
Book title: The Gift of Charms (Book 1)
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd, Dino Imprint
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON, PRE-ORDER THE PAPERBACK RELEASE OF ‘THE GIFT OF CHARMS’ HERE ?http://tinyurl.com/o95ufw9
Release/delivery date: 4th September 2014