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Archive for August, 2012

Description From Goodreads:
When shy and retiring Llandry Sanfaer discovers a mesmerising new gemstone, she suddenly becomes the most famous jeweller across the Seven Realms. Demand for the coveted stone escalates fast; when people begin dying for it, Llandry finds that she herself has become a target.

Lady Evastany Glostrum has her life in pristine order. Prestigious, powerful and wealthy, she is on the verge of crowning her successes with the perfect marriage. But when her closest friend is murdered for the jewellery she wears, Eva is drawn into the mystery surrounding the curious “istore” gem.

The emergence of the stone is causing chaos across the Seven. Gates between the worlds are opening at will, pulling hordes of creatures through from the shadowy Lower Realm and the glittering Uppers. As Eva works to discover the culprit behind the spreading disorder, Llandry must learn the truth about her precious istore stone — before she herself becomes a victim.

DRAYKON, by Charlotte E. English
Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Review: *** 3 Stars
At first, DRAYKON seemed a bit juvenile, with winged fairies living in trees and an insecure young protagonist, but after a few chapters, the book really grew on me. The world-building was unique, with three different planes of existence and multiple realms within the “middle” plane that aligned themselves with one or the other of the “upper” and “lower” planes. As the characters traveled through the world and the plot unfolded, the complexity and true depth of the story was revealed. However, while I enjoyed the story, and it was fun to read, nothing hooked me to the point of never letting go. It was like taking a stroll through a lovely park, rather than riding a fast and furious rollercoaster; enjoyable, but not thrilling.

Characters: *** 3 Stars
Llandry is an immature twenty-something, afraid of crowds and insecure in her own skin. A young jeweler, fame overwhelms her when she discovers a rare gemstone and uses it in her designs. As the story progresses, Llandry starts to take some risks and attempts to assert herself, to mixed results, but I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop.

Eva is almost an opposite to Llandry. She’s older, wiser, and confident in her abilities. She is also friends with Llandry’s mother and as their worlds collide, she provides a good foil for the younger woman.

Devary comes in to the story as a mystery, and stays that way. I’m not sure if he is a love interest, a babysitter, or just a friend of Llandry’s mother, but he does help bring Llandry out of hiding and into the world, literally and figuratively. I imagine more will come to light about him in later books, and I definitely wanted to know more about him and his role in Llandry’s world.

Plot: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON moved along at a nice easy “goldilocks” pace; neither too fast nor too slow. The author does a great job of twisting together different plot lines until they finally meet toward the end of the novel, revealing a big “AHA!” moment.

My one complaint was the choice of the name of the jewel: an istore gem made me think of an Apple product, as in an ipod or an iphone, and I couldn’t get that out of my head for the whole story.

Setting: **** 4 Stars
DRAYKON seemed like a wonderful world, very well-drawn and easy to imagine, though fantastical. I loved the concept of the realms being aligned with the “upper” and “lower” planes, the upper being light, bright, and airy, and the lower being dark, shadowed, and chaotic.

Eva’s realm, Glour, is aligned with the lower realm, and exists in the dark. As a result, all of the people of Glour are extremely sensitive to the light and the environment has evolved to thrive in nighttime conditions.

Meanwhile, the Glinnish people are winged and live in perpetual daytime. The author did a great job incorporating the flying into the story, where danger can come from above and Llandry’s escapes had to be faster or higher than her pursuers.

Romance: * 1 Star
Llandry and Devary seemed to have a bit of a “thing” going on, but they never did anything about it. There was a nice scene at the end, when Llandry saves Devary’s life, but at that point it was too late to have a great romance. Perhaps in later books their relationship will deepen, but for this first book I wanted more from them both.

Genre – Adventure Fantasy: *** 3 Stars
DRAYKON is a fun, easy story to read, but lacks the extreme highs and lows of a great adventure. It’s a book that would be a great beach read, when you want to have something undemanding that you can put aside for a little while but quickly remember when you return.

Note: This review was requested by the author. The only compensation received was a free copy of the book.

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