Sunday, March 11, 2007

Book Review: The Coming of Dragons


The Coming of Dragons
The Darkest Age: Book One

by A.J. Lake

Two children, Elspeth and Edmund, are shipwrecked together with a mysterious chest. Elspeth is the daughter of the ship's captain, and Edmund is the son of the King of Sussex, traveling incognito. During the storm which wrecked the ship, Edmund saw a dragon; but more than that, he saw through the dragon's eyes.

The two children and the chest are found on the beach by on old man, Aagard, who turns out to be more than he seems. Aagard was one of the council of the King of Wessex, called the King's Rede, before the Rede was betrayed by an evil, power-hungry man called Orgrim. Orgrim was a ripente, someone who has the capability of entering anyone's mind and seeing through their eyes. Aagard tells Edmund that the reason he could see through the dragon's eyes is that he is a Ripente also.

The chest contains a crystal sword, a sword coveted by Orgrim. If Orgrim gets the sword, he will be unstoppable. The sword chooses Elspeth and bonds itself to her hand. Edmund and Elspeth just want to go home, but fate has another destiny in store for them. The two children may have no choice but to use their unwanted gifts to try to defeat Orgrim.

The Coming of Dragons is set in a land which closely resembles England of the Dark Ages, but in this England, things such as magic and dragons are real. The story is exciting; kids who like swords and sorcery adventures will enjoy it. I liked the strong-willed Elspeth a little better as a character than the cautious Edmund, but even Edmund develops some spirit as they go along and as he learns better how to use his gift. The protagonists act stupidly a little too often for my taste, but hopefully as the series progresses they'll grow into their responsibility.

In spite of the title, there's not much of dragons here; the one dragon appears only twice in the story. However, the next book, The Book of the Sword, promises to have more about the dragon. I'll find out soon: I have a copy of The Book of the Sword and will read it as soon as I can get it away from David.

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