I received this charming book in exchange for an honest review, and wow, I'm so happy to have read it.
"Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms" follows the com...moreI received this charming book in exchange for an honest review, and wow, I'm so happy to have read it.
"Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms" follows the coming-of-age adventure of a very special dragon hatched from a very special egg. A special and possibly terrifying egg - at least to some other dragons. From the very beginning, Yoshiko struggles to fit in, learning through trial and suffering and hard-won success that his difference is far more important than he knows.
The tale made me laugh, prompted me to explain to my husband (at great length) the subtle inclusions of history and psychology, and made me drain the battery on my Kindle. The world-building is fantastic, including such gems (that is a pun, as you'll learn when you read it) as food like breakfast porridge composed of rock salt, herbs, and peat; an actual dragon monetary system with a working economy; and locations with dramatic names like The Fire Which Must Never Go Out, which I particularly like that because it's clear a story is attached to them.
The histories of Dragor are layered and interesting (dragsaurs? Oh, boy!), while subtly making clear this story takes place in the real world. A brief mention of a long-ago writer named William *coughcoughShakespearecough* even identifies that this is somewhere around England (and is a great chance to introduce young readers to The Bard).
Ms. Suzuki even manages to make a bully with his own character-arc - though I won't spoil you by telling you what happens to him. I will say I cheered. There might have been a fist-pump.
I can't wait to read more and learn what happens in the land of Dragor. Quite a few hints were laid for the next book, though this one stands alone beautifully. It's completely appropriate for younger ages, but I can say from experience that adults can enjoy it, too. We all need more dragons like this in our lives!(less)
This review is part of the blog tour for the newest book in Tahlia Newland’s series, Diamond Peak.
This book leaves no doubts as to the direness of our...moreThis review is part of the blog tour for the newest book in Tahlia Newland’s series, Diamond Peak.
This book leaves no doubts as to the direness of our protagonists’ situation.
In the midst of death and sacrifice, Nick and Ariel finally arrive at the Sheldra university, but of course, all is not well. The good news: Ariel has finally stopped her mad streak of denial and admitted she loves and needs Nick. (And Ruthanne does a happy dance.) The bad news: Nick no longer has time to wait for her to make up her mind, and the evil forces pursuing her have only gotten more clever.
This book is definitely the best of the three. Tahlia’s style really bloomed somewhere between book two and three, and the flow in this book is a huge jump toward awesomeness.
Now, remember: this world and its powers depend entirely on the transforming force of negative and positive emotions. So with Ariel finally realizing she’s in love but unable to act on it, she has become vulnerable to insidious and intimate attacks… which is exactly what the demon does. Even lust can be a problem.
Ariel is growing up. With that maturing comes new problems and difficulties, and new ways for the serpentine to attack her. With this in mind, Tahlia tackles the tricky topic of addiction in this story, sorta-kinda with hints of rape. Ariel’s struggle is part of the core of this book, and I suspect essential to her development as the heroine of this series.
Addiction is a spooky topic to touch, very much part of real life and not just this story.
I won’t say more lest there be spoilers. Suffice it to say this book focuses on the internal war more than the external, balancing out the extensive battles of the previous book. I still kind of want to throttle Nick and Ariel both, just a little, but I am at this point convinced I’ll be completely satisfied with the way their relationship grows.
I’m definitely looking forward to reading the last of the series. It’s a delight to watch this author grow.(less)