Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

I was quickly captivated by the world and the characters of Chiril. This was my first experience with the writings of Donita K. Paul. I’ve been curious about her writing for a while since I first noticed her Dragon Keepers books at the store. I wasn’t sure at the time that I wanted to get invested in a new series by an author I’ve never read. So I jumped at the chance to read and review The Dragons of Chiril, which is a prequel to her Dragon Keepers series and requires no prior knowledge of her previous novels. It was a thoroughly entertaining & rewarding read. I am now convinced to dive a little deeper into Paul’s world and try out her other books.

In The Dragons of Chiril, the main character is Tipper, a young woman who is forced to take over the responsibilities as head of her family because of her father’s mysterious disappearance and her mother’s subsequent disconnect from reality. To make ends meet, she sells many valued family possessions, including some artwork made by her father, a well-known artist. Then her father returns, just as mysteriously as he disappeared, with some strangers from far away, looking for three particular sculptures. Tipper had unfortunately already sold them and didn’t know their whereabouts. She quickly learns that her father’s life & even the existence of the whole world are imminently dependent on finding & reuniting these special sculptures. So they assemble a rag-tag group of trekkers and set out to track down and reacquire the sculptures before it’s too late.

The best things about The Dragons of Chiril, in my opinion, are the characters. They are unusual, endearing, & even amusing. And the dragons, which are characters too, are downright charming. The story, though not action packed, is quite compelling and enjoyable. It seems to unfold naturally. It was very enjoyable. In fact, it made me smile, sometimes even when I wasn’t reading it.

There are a few downsides, however. I was occasionally confused by some details, mostly pertaining to the setting and people in general. While it is not necessary to have read Donita K. Paul’s other books, I think there are certain details that would have been less confusing if I’d had some prior knowledge. When I came to the end of the book, I discovered a glossary that somewhat explained some of the things I had been wondering about. I wish I had known about it when I started, though.

The other, and more important quibble I had with the book was the ending, not the way the story ended, but the way the ending was written. It seemed rushed and confused, perhaps a bit chaotic at times, and then was suddenly tied up at the end. I would have liked it better if the climax had been drawn out a bit more. This was not enough to make me disappointed overall with the book. The book was truly great up until that point, and I can’t help but wonder if my impression has anything to do with my frame of mind at the time of reading the ending. I can still say that The Dragons of Chiril was well worth my time, and I would recommend it to others.

In exchange for sharing my thoughts about it, I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program. Please rate my review on their site.

You can buy the book here.  Check out the first chapter.


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Well, It’s been over two months since I last posted. My computer got fried by lightning about two months ago. It was an iMac, and our back up computer is an old Gateway laptop. It’s just not the same. I haven’t gotten over it enough to get back to writing. I know that’s a really bad excuse. We’re getting a new iMac today, and I expect to get back into my writing again soon.

I’ve had a few good ideas during my off time, Most came in the usual way, middle of the night epiphanies that I’m too sleepy to write down. I’ve tried to remember most of it and bounce the ideas off my husband to see if any of them are actually good. If nothing else, I’ve gotten to know my characters better in my reflections.

I got one of my more unusual ideas just before my computer got zapped. I had an idea to actually name the chapters of my books. I wasn’t planning on this, because I have so much trouble naming things as it is, but I just got this idea stuck in my head. I was lying awake thinking about the first chapter, which I was adding scenes to at the time. Since I was sleepy, my thoughts kept wandering randomly, and a song kept popping into my head. It kind of became like a soundtrack to my thoughts. It was one of the songs my husband and I wrote. This gave me an idea that I wanted to test, so I fast-forwarded in my head to chapter two, and another one of our songs came to me. Then I realized that I could think of a Tiny Rain song that would fit, either perfectly or loosely, with almost every major part of the story. It also worked for the other book ideas I have for the series. So I decided that I would name each chapter after one of our songs, and if one didn’t fit then we could write a new one just for it. We need some inspiration to make new music anyway. Since I love writing, and I love music, I thought this would be a great way to bring them together. This idea also led me to a few other ideas, like book names, a name for my fantasy world, and also the idea to play up the role of music in the story.

I actually have to give partial credit for this idea to (I don’t remember who) who wrote (I don’t remember what) which used titles of eighties songs for the chapter names. I had started reading this book because of this interesting hook, but it didn’t otherwise grab me, so I stopped.

At some point I might share these ideas more specifically, but I’m not sure how much to reveal at this point. Until next time (hopefully not months from now), listen to some Tiny Rain songs at our Virb site.

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After another sleepless night, I have decided that if I want to tell the complete story of my world I must write five individual stories.  The book I am currently working on will have two prequels and two sequels.  I guess I have plenty of material for the next four years of NaNoWriMo.

Also, my dad gave me some pointers based on some of his favorite fantasy novels, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series.  This made me reconsider my approach to character development and simplify the plot a little bit.  So now I am working on a new introduction and minor changes to the parts I’ve already written.

I am really hoping that I will have the resolve to stick it out through this novel, and the other four as well.  If this one turns out well, I plan to try to get it and the others published.  If that happened, it would be a dream come true.

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Last night, I tossed and turned for over two hours trying not to plan the fate of my fantasy world… with little success, as evidenced by the page full of notes that I scribbled today instead of writing.  While attempting to stop thinking of the timeline, I devised a rudimentary basis for the language of my new civilization.  Help!  I expected this to be a standalone book, but I can’t ignore the historical context floating around in my mind.  There are so many possibilities.  Should I expand my ideas into multiple books, keeping the current one a little more cryptic, or should I try to cram as much into this one as possible?  I don’t know if I should be excited or intimidated, or both.  I was initially modeling my concept from influences of C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Madeleine L’Engle, Ted Dekker, and Jeffrey Overstreet.  Maybe I should include Tolkien in that list, since it looks like I may be heading toward a Silmarillion of my own.

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Claire, a teenage girl, finds herself sucked through a magical vortex in a mysterious woodland pool.  She travels through a cold, dark, in-between space to a beautiful green world.  Strange creatures abound there, as well as a tribe of people appearing to be human.  Claire befriends a young boy there.  She returns home and revisits this world several times learning more about the link between the two worlds with each visit.  Then something terrible happens, and Claire is given a mission to return home and find the only way to save her friends and their beautiful world.

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