Friday, 30 November 2012

Review: 'The Dragondain' by Richard Due

After reading the first of the Moonrealm books, 'The Moon Coin', I knew I wanted to read the rest of them as well. Thankfully, I was allowed to and here I bring you the review of the second book. 
The Dragondain (Moon Realm, #2)It's the middle of the night, you need to send your brother to the Moon Realm, and he won’t wake up. So you improvise. . . . 
When a confused Jasper awakes, he's convinced he's dreaming. But by the time he meets Greydor, Jasper understands that this is no dream. In fact, persuading the King of the Rinn to work with the men of Dain to defeat their common enemy is a nightmare. Then there’s the other side of the coin: convincing Tavin and Dubb that saddling a Rinn isn’t certain death. (“It’ll be fun!”) And perhaps even a greater worry: can he make friends with Dubb’s daughter Darce before she punches his lights out?
Lily has problems, too. There’s a little mousie scratching in her closet. Or at least, it sounds like a little mousie. Oh, and her second confrontation with Curse, and trying to form her first peerin. (Don’t you have to be from Dain to do that?) And where’s Ebb?
One thing’s for sure: now that Lily and Jasper have entered the Moon Realm, nothing can ever be the same again.
I loved this book even more than the last. I realize that as a 19-year old I should perhaps not enjoy reading novels for the younger this much, but I feel that Richard Due really stepped up his game in this novel making it so much easier to just love it. The worlds seem much richer than before, now that we have passed the introductions in the first book. We get to see more of the different cultures of the different moons and more about their history. Especially for younger readers it is a great introduction into fantasy world building. Carolyn Arcabascio's illustrations really bring forward the intense colours of the different worlds.

It was great to get a bit more time with Jasper, as the reader. The last novel was mainly about Lily and her experiences and here we get to see how he deals with the Moon Realm. Richard Due truly created two different characters that are both their own character and yet recognizable for every child and adult who have ever imagined themselves on a fantasy journey. The fact that they're children isn't overlooked, as happens in many teenage novels, but highlighted and used to its best advantage. As children, they have restrictions but also certain liberties adults do not possess. 

As a second novel in a trilogy, a novel often has to achieve multiple things. Not only does it have to keep the readers interested and maintain their relationship with the characters, it also has to find the right balance between answering questions and creating new ones, introducing new characters while maintaining the old characters etc. It is always a shame to see an author struggle, but it is a true joy to see it work. Thankfully, Richard Due is able to find the right balance and keeps the right pace of plot without leaving too many loose ends. It is clear a lot still has to happen and be explained but that is why I am looking forward to the next novel.

I give this novel...

This is a great introduction to the fantasy genre for any child and a great opportunity for (young) adults to remember their first fantasy. The characters remain interesting and as you read the impression never leaves you that there is so much more to discover. I believe that in fantasy that is the most important thing, knowing that there is always more to imagine, to explore. And I would say that Richard Due achieved this very well.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Juli,

    I read both the books in this series so far and like yourself, I loved them both.

    The only small niggle I had, was that 'The Dragondain' was not a self contained story and had no real ending, leaving the reader completely up in the air, with its 'To Be Continued' pose.

    I really like the individual books of any series to have a distinct order of events, with a definitive solution at the end.

    That small moan aside, this is definitely a top notch series for both adults and children alike and the illustrations of Carolyn Arcabascio are such an added bouns and a great tool in helping Richard to bring the words to life.

    Nice review,