DragonFire by Donita K. Paul
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is technically the fourth book in the Dragonkeeper series, but it is the second I have read. Much like the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, there is an undercurrent of spiritual idealogy in the stories. And, as with Narnia, you don't have to be a religious person to enjoy them. The religious underpinnings are not so overt as to take over the story. They are there, but Paul does not beat you over the head with them.
In this part of the story, DragonKeeper Kale Allerion is married to Sir Barton, and they have been living in the Bog, working to clean it up of various unsavory creatures. They happen on the cure for Gilda, one of the intelligent dragons. They leave the bog to find Gilda. They find her, and enact the cure, but also find the land being ravaged by the battle between two evil wizards. The people are somewhat indifferent, just hoping the war doesn't affect them too much. Kale is charged with hatching and training an army of dragons, a quest she is aided in by her father, also a DragonKeeper. Bardon is sent on his own quest.
The story moves along fairly quickly, with few passages that bog down the story. The world is fully developed by this fourth book. The cast of characters is fairly large, and it is sometimes hard to keep all of the different races (there are seven higher and seven lower races here), but the glossary at the end of the book and the character list help there. Paul does not shy away from conflict or unpleasant imagery, but nothing is exceptionally graphic. There are religious undertones to the story, but at its core, it is a story of the conflict between good and evil, and that is a familiar theme to readers of fantasy, religious or not.
I found it an enjoyable, easy book to read.
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