14 November, 2010

Book Review: Dragons Of Darkness

Title: Dragons Of Darkness
Author: Antonia Michaelis
Translated By: Anthea Bell
Publisher: Amulet Books, imprint of Abrams
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Page Count: 548
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Cover Rating: 5 out of 5. *cover-induced drooling* You couldn't make a better cover for the book! And besides that, the dragon is simply gorgeous. Not all dragons are illustrated that well! I love it even more than Tiger Moon's cover, the other book she wrote. I would definitely want them doing my book cover . . .

Inside flap: 

Beautiful yet menacing dragons have come out of the mountains . . .
With an appetite as sinister as theirs, nothing--and no one--will be spared.
Christopher doesn't have much in common with Jumar, the prince of Nepal. He's not even sure how he ended up trekking across the mountainous country in the prince's strange company. But one thing is certain: someone must help fight the deadly dragons and other, even more dangerous forces that plague the land.
   The dragons are like something out of a fairly tale, draining all the color from the world and turning anyone caught in their shadows to metal. Defeating the dragons will take Christopher and Jumar on a journey deep into the heart of Nepal, and deep into the secrets of their own hearts. What they find there will make all the difference.

My expectations: Average. I expected an interesting fantasy read, maybe a little more like MG than YA.

This book falls pretty strongly into the YA category, and the mix of what's in this book . . . I seriously have never read anything like it!

About the book: The synopsis does not do this book justice in the least! The book is a wild ride, with invisible princes (yes, invisible!), to Maoist insurgents, to dragons that drink color and turn people to metal, to German boys thrust into the political conflict either by magic or because they traveled there to do aid work, to a queen frozen in time.

I loved it, all except for a few parts that I found a little strange. But there were a lot of good things, too. The political, communist aspect was a surprise--not many books, especially ones in the USA, are written that include Communism as one of its central points. Dragons Of Darkness incorporates the politics into the story well--it's not unrealistic or unbelievable, despite the circumstances that the characters are in.

The overall writing style, while translated, is very good. I love Antonia Michaelis's writing, part of the reason I snatched up this book after having read Tiger Moon. I wonder what it's like in the original German.

  • Plot:

Fast, complicated, and little surprising. I didn't expect the characters to do what they did, nor did I ever completely anticipate what was going to happen next. The politics, magic, fantasy, characters, and the setting worked well together, although you might not think they would.

  • Characters:
I really liked Christopher as a character. He was determined and a good person, and considering he was thrown into Nepal via magic and ran into an invisible prince without warning, he took everything in stride rather well. I grew fond of him.

Jumar was different, not only because he's invisible. He's also determined, although for different goals--he wants to rescue his kingdom, Nepal, and topple the Maoist insurgents who are attempting to take over the country. I like Christopher better, but Jumar was still an attractive character.

Niya was different from everyone. She was strong, fiery, and had amazing spirit, considering what she'd been through. I liked her sureness, and her strong-as-steel attitude, although some of her decisions made me blink. But she was a good character.

All the other secondary characters are equally as good, with people from all over the spectrum, from kings to monks to the insurgents.

  • Setting/Elements:

The military aspect--the Maoists--surprised me at first. The title is Dragons Of Darkness, after all; it sounds like High Fantasy, or something like that. I hadn't expected to read so much of their political ideas, although I have to say that it was an interesting take on their principles and why they do what they do. It was also a glimpse of Nepal, and not many books have their setting in that country.

Other: Violence, and sex. The sex kind of threw me--these people are barely teenagers, yet they're having sex. Good grief.

I would love to see this book made into a movie. There's plenty of action, and with graphics where they are right now, I'm sure someone could do an epic job with the dragons.

Do I recommend this book? Yes!

-----The Golden Eagle


Clarissa Draper said...

I wouldn't expect sex either. However, the cover just blew me away. I guess it's only natural to have so much color because the dragons eat it.

Old Kitty said...

I want this book!!!! Wow!! Thanks for such an enthusiastic review - I want, I want, I want! :-)

Take care

KarenG said...

Great review! This sounds like a fun read, esp for those who love fantasy.

Jemi Fraser said...

That is definitely a drool-worthy cover - just gorgeous. Sounds like a terrific book! Thanks for the review :)

Lynda Young said...

I love dragons so the cover is certainly catchy. Thanks for a great review but darnit I have yet another book for my TBR pile now!

N. R. Williams said...

I was blown away by the cover too. I agree about the sex and the communist aspect sounds interesting. In all, I think I'd better get this book and read it.
By the way, I read your home school comments and think you nailed it. Great job.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

The Golden Eagle said...

Clarissa: I agree. But even if they hadn't been eating color, it would have been an excellent cover!

Old Kitty: I hope that you get it, then! It's worth the read!

Karen: It is!

Jemi: You're welcome. :)

Lynda: That TBR pile get pretty big, pretty fast, doesn't it?! But at least there's no fear of running empty.

Nancy: Do read it! :)

Since I'm homeschooled, it frustrates me when people act like homeschoolers are different. Glad you liked it!

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Wow, a Princess frozen in time...makes my whiskers shiver!

Arlee Bird said...

Very nice review-- makes me want to read this book. I'm not a big fantasy enthusiast, but the mix of contemporary concepts sounds intriguing.

The cover art is very attractive.

Tossing It Out

Holly Ruggiero said...

You had me at dragons! But the story actually sounds interesting. I’m adding it to my reading list (though I wish it was available as an e-book.)

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, this really sounds like something my son would love. :)

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic cover! Drool-worthy, indeed. Thanks for the very thorough review!

L'Aussie said...

That's a great review! What a beautiful cover!

I had a good look at your blog and decided you are a very Versatile Blogger. Pop back and pick up your award from my blog!

You make buttons! I've tried but they are pretty lame. I'm going to need some in the future so I'll keep you in mind - if you don't mind..:)

Your NaNo's going well!

Elliot Grace said...

...the cover design alone is enough to lure my interest. Brilliant!
You've got a knack for posting wonderful, extremely thorough book reviews, allowing readers to know without hesitation whether or not to invest their time in the novel. I'll be remembering you when my book is released...free copy headed your way:)

Anonymous said...

That cover is amazing. I'm not really into dragon books, but this one looks tantalizing based on the cover and your review.

Alison said...

Sounds very interesting. The cover does look like an MG book. The communist part is unusual. Don't see that much anymore. Is it a new book?

Jai Joshi said...

That cover is cool. I love dragons. Thanks for doing this review.


Anonymous said...

That was a thorough review. Thanks. I may not buy every book from a review I read, but most books I buy are frim readr reviews. I'm only now getting back into fantasy and appreciate what you liked and did not like about this book.

....Petty Witter said...

I know just what you mean about the cover - amazing the power they have to make us take an interest (or not)in a book with just one quick glance.

The Golden Eagle said...

Brian: That part is definitely shiver-worthy!

Lee: I love Fantasy, but yes, the contemporary elements to add something else to the usual dragon-theme.

Holly: Hope you enjoy Dragons Of Darkness, once you read it. :)

Elana: Cool!

Talli: You're welcome!

L'Aussie: Glad you liked it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'll be sure to mention it in an upcoming post. :)

I don't mind at all! And they're free, too, by the way.

Yes, it is!

Elliot: I'm glad you like my book review style! I try to say what I really think, and not something other than my true thoughts--it just doesn't seem like it helps any potential readers.

Seriously? Because I'd love to review your upcoming book!

Medeia: Dragons are one of my favorite creatures, so I didn't mind that--if you do ever decide to read the book, though, hopefully the dragons will suit your style. :)

Alison: Yes. It was published in the USA in January 2010--so relatively new.

Jai: You're welcome! :)

Stephen: Most of the books I pick up are from reviews I've seen, although if there's a book I've never heard of before on the shelf (I always use libraries) then I'll pick it up anyway.

Petty Witter: Covers influence my impression of books a lot, too. If it's dull/boring/bland I'll usually think of the book that way; if it's great, like this one, I'll have a more positive feelings at the start.

Misha1989 said...

I usually don't go by covers. But the cover of this book is really awesome!I have hardly read any books about dragons. I think I will like this book .

The Golden Eagle said...

I hope you enjoy it, Misha! :)