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Hampton Roads -- VA
5 Stars Out Of 5
November 22, 2011
Hampton Roads -- VA
Any book in this genre is outside of what I normally read, but my oldest son has read all of Ms. Paul's books and thoroughly enjoyed them. He says they have excellent spiritual messages presented in an allegorical style. I think it's nice that I can trust the author with my children, knowing that they will come away with a deeper awareness of God.
I probably should have read Dragons of Chiril and Dragons of the Valley first. Then I would have known more about the characters and the world they live in. I don't think kids will have a problem if they haven't read the other books, though. Their imaginations are probably far better honed than mine.
Special thanks to Laura Tucker of WaterBrook Press for sending me a review copy. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, just my honest opinion.
This is probably the first time in a long time (if not the first time ever) that I waited with great anticipation for the release of a novel. ::grin:: The publisher made a "sneak peak" available, which included the first two chapters of the novel. The kids and I all read it, and waited ever-so-patiently.
Dragons of the Watch arrived on my doorstep late Saturday afternoon. I casually opened the package and laid the book on the counter. My 10-year-old was standing nearby. My husband said to him, "Hey CJ, look at that." He walked over, his mouth dropped open, then he quickly snatched the book and turned to run. Before he could get to a comfy spot on the couch I called out, "Nope, I get to read it FIRST." I was officially declared "the meanest mom in the world." No worries, though, I didn't hog the book. By midnight Sunday I was reading the last page. Now, how do I write a glowing review without spoilers?
I have to be brutally honest. When I read the preview chapters, I wasn't sure I was going to like the rest. It seemed so strange. Why didn't Ellie find her circumstances strange? Why didn't she complain? Why did her aunt and uncle just drive off and leave her and expect her to be ok? I wasn't so sure I was liking the way this book was starting off! I shouldn't have worried. First of all, Ellie was quite able to care for herself and I was being too much of a "mother hen". Secondly, her personality and ability to handle her unusual circumstances is explained eventually. I was able to identify my own anxieties while reading the book. I mean, don't we normally expect a book to have a "happy" ending? For everything to work out in the end? Even though I reminded myself of this, I was caught up in the story and found myself feeling a genuine concern and worry for Ellie, Bealomondore, and the other characters. I fell in love with the book, and especially with Ellie. She just might be my favorite character yet out of Mrs. Paul's books that I've read. I may not have her patience nor her purity of character, but there are so many other character traits that I identify with.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Dragons of the Watch does an excellent job of introducing the characters (and therefore the reader) to their Creator (Wulder is an allegorical reference to Yahweh God). Like a rose blooming, the story unfolds to reveal depth and beauty in the hearts of the main characters. Attributes of Wulder mirror our God's, and principles from the Tomes are borrowed from our Bible so that we learn--as if by a parable--how we should order our own lives. Reading from this point of view causes me to feel refreshed, excited, and filled with hope. When I pull myself from the fantasy, close the book and examine my reality, it's like looking at my world with new eyes. I can't wait to hear what the rest of my family thinks.
Dragons of the Watch is a bit different than the other novels. A little more romance, a little less action. The characters are well-developed. The setting is beautifully described. The main story is very, very good. It isn't just "brain candy", a term a friend of mine just introduced me to). If you haven't read any from this series yet, I recommend buying all three!