I’m back again with a review of Lady Dragon, Tela Du. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, head over to this post. Otherwise keep reading.
This book had at least 6 plot twist of significance and numerous smaller ones. I saw less than half of them coming. And I like that. I felt smart for what I did figure out, but the ones I didn’t is what made it really brilliant. Because they are telegraphed way back, in very subtle ways. Kendra is brilliant at this.
I also made the mistake of trying to make guesses based of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Yes, this book was inspired by that. But I knew there had been many major changes. Yet still I tried to use it as a pattern. Take my advice, don’t bother making too many predictions. You will never figure it out.
The Emotional Depth
You know how some books seem to change how you feel and you get so full of emotions that you almost burst. The books that you must talk about in some form. This is one of those books. I felt the situations almost as if I was there. It got me pondering deep things. What would it be like if someone else knew what I was thinking, what I have locked away in my heart? What would it be like to have great things asked of me? Things I almost certainly couldn’t do, but felt I couldn’t avoid. What if my life spun completely out of control? Would I still be able to trust God to help me through each day? Am I really trusting him to help me through life now?
This is actually a kind of odd one, because though I can’t help liking him, the intensity of his feelings for Petra makes me a bit uncomfortable. an enthusiastic, irrepressible optimist. This often annoys Petra which makes me either annoyed or amused. He can be ridiculous at times, but under it he has his serious moments. I love those serious moments. They’re usually when Petra is worked up and needs sense talked into her.
She’s an uncommon protagonist. Not at all interested in risking her life to kill Amber. Well not until she has a personal reason to hate her. But people who are willing to risk their lives to make things better for others probably aren’t as common as books would make you think.
Different colours of water; crazily coloured everything; telepathic, teleporting unicorns; doormats that also teleport you; three different castles; what more could you want? Well there is more, Ambers magical items for example. She has pocket sized stars that do everything from invisibility to changing winds and lots in between: a table that makes its own food; touch activated lights and doors, and much more. And we get a little peek into another world.
Every book needs a sweet elf girl doesn’t it? Well maybe not, but we have one here. Ashna goes through a lot of hard things, and though she gets scared she’s not weepy. She’s very quiet and would never intentionally hurt anyone. She’s a contrast to other female characters who easily explode or and least get annoyed. But I think gentleness is common in Kendra’s elves since they are weaker. Her gift is colour change and though it might seem a bit trivial she finds both valuable and caring uses for it.
The villain is always a valid reason for liking a book. I’d met Amber in the previous book, but now I get to see her side of the story. She’s not just some crazy lady who can turn into a dragon. She’s obsessed with the idea of ruling Rizkaland and won’t see what stands in her way. She thinks she knows exactly what she’s doing, but she can’t avoid her destiny. And under her callousness, there’s a slight sense of humour. Characters need a sense of humour.
I hated Amber in the first book, was glad she was going to die and didn’t care how. But somehow Kendra twisted be around so that I actually pitied her. I wished for her to change. Doing that with a villain is masterful
Amber’s husband. I feel so sorry for him. How could a good man still love his wife when she had been evil for so long? Yet he does. He tries to make her see what she is doing wrong.
He’s also at times quite a fun character. He and Reuben would make quite a pair.
Trusting in God to make everything turn out all right. God has a plan even in the things that don’t make the least sense. Sometimes we wonder why he let things happen how they have. Wouldn’t it be so much better if Amber had never come to Rizkaland? Or sometimes we worry about the consequences of our choices. What if the thing we thought was right messed everything up?
But we need not worry. God is in control. If he puts us in a position he will guide us in filling it. I’ll share a couple of favourite lines that express this.
“If that is what You ask of us, then we shall take it one day at a time, as You guide us,” answered Reuben. “Stringing those days together, we’ll end up at the end eventually.”
It also deals with the balance between free will and predestination.
“But if the result is already determined, is it a choice?”
“Yes, it’s still a choice,” Laura answered. “Day after day, I choose to do the tasks set before me. Yes, even I have a choice.”
What I didn’t like so much
The structure just didn’t quite feel right. The point of highest tension was at the three quarter mark. After that it slowly dropped, getting down to almost nothing before jumping up pretty high just before the end. It’s not a big problem and my love of the character and a knowledge that something had to happen kept me reading, but it was a little slow.
There wasn’t enough room in the book for all of the characters to be fully developed. There was one couple in particular I would have like to see a little more of. But since that would have had to happen in the end part of the book it would have made the previous problem worse.
Summer disappointed me by being a better person that I’d expected. Which is an odd thing to complain about, but true.
This book was about at the edge of what I can stand as far as romance goes. That was partly because I was reading it aloud to my brothers and have a lower tolerance with them. There’s young married couples doing about what you would expect, kissing, falling asleep together, nothing more than that. And the description tends more towards the character’s emotions than physical sensations.
I enjoyed your detailed analysis of each element. I agree – second book syndrome has no place here. And I don't know how Kendra does all those masterful plot twists. Comparing it to LWW didn't get any of us anywhere, did it? 😛
And the characters!
Nowhere but lost. And I suspect the books are just going to get more twisting as they go on. At least I knew kind of where this one should be going.
Excellent review! I like your style of reviewing, and also your analysis of each of the elements.
I wasn't that bothered by Summer, but that's just me.
Loved this post, Anna! This was such a unique way to review Kendra's book – I really enjoyed it! Might have to try something like it sometime :).
Oh I wasn't bothered by her. But she consistently made more sense than I expected and wasn't as bad. I would have been quite happy to see more of her, she can be quite amusing at times.