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Chronicles of Fallhollow #1

In the Shadow of the Dragon King

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Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a kick-butt squire to the most revered knight in Fallhollow. Well he would be if Sir Trogsdill allowed him to do anything even remotely awesome. Determined to prove his worth, Eric sets out to find the mythical paladin summoned to protect the realm from the evil lurking nearby.

Sixteen-year-old, David, spends his days collecting school honors, winning archery tournaments, and trying not to fall in love with his scrappy best friend, Charlotte.

Right when things start to get interesting, he is whisked away to the magical realm of Fallhollow where everyone thinks he's some sort of paladin destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy. He's supposed to help kill a dragon with some sort of magic key. The same key that happens to adorn the neck of an annoying squire who's too wrapped up in proving himself to be much help to anyone.

With egos as big as the dragon they need to destroy, Eric and David must get over themselves, or watch everything they know and love, burn.

403 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 31, 2016

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About the author

J. Keller Ford

7 books140 followers
J. (Jenny) Keller Ford is a scribbler of speculative fiction and YA tales. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany's most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. She is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a menagerie of royal pets, and her own quirky knight who was brave enough to marry her.

Jenny is the author of The Chronicles of Fallhollow series. The first two books, IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING, and RAGE OF THE DRAGON KING, are currently available. The third and final book, BANE OF THE DRAGON KING, is due to release in the Fall 2018.

Please stop by her website at www.j-keller-ford.com for additional info or email her at: jenny(at)j-keller-ford(dot)com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 43 reviews
Profile Image for Lonna | FLYLēF.
158 reviews186 followers
July 12, 2016
FLYLēF Book Reviews

Original Post: In the Shadow of the Dragon King (The Chronicles of Fallhollow 1) at FLYLēF (www.flylef.com)

I SUPPOSE I can’t love them all. Though, I was taken by surprise that I didn’t love In the Shadow of the Dragon King, by J. Keller Ford. The cover, synopsis, and genre were spot on—a trifecta of sorts. And, did I mention dragon? I thought (or hoped) I would be reading about a coming-of-age story where the deep bonds of camaraderie between Eric and David are forged, as they set out on an epic dragon adventure. In actuality, David and Eric, never meet until the end of the book—some 400 pages later. While two concurrent timelines between alternating perspectives aren’t a deal breaker for me by any means, I did struggle with other elements.

The world build was conflicting. When I read the word “germs” in the magical world of Fallhollow, it blasted me right out of fantasy and into the modern marvels of medicine. Can germs and magic co-exist? I imagine it could; however, Fallhollow had such a medieval and old-world charm to it that the use of microorganisms, though practically insignificant, was disruptive to the overall atmosphere.

The characters were overly generalized. Seventeen-year-old, Eric, is a noble squire with a good heart, but his temper and compulsiveness have a way of putting people and missions at risk. Sixteen-year-old David, is a “configuration of worry and self-doubt.” He denies his destiny as the paladin, as much as, he doesn't understand it. David’s crush and best friend, Charlotte, is a damsel in distress. Inasmuch as she is the positive force to drive David’s actions, she is more easily seen as a handicap to his growth. That being said, I also feel that the characters are starting from a point of innocence and youth in this first installment, with a great potential to be molded into more mature and complex personalities.

The action was nonstop and exciting with David being hunted ceaselessly. I think some readers will be quite enthralled by this. One thing I wish I’d seen more of is David’s valor in navigating and overcoming dangerous encounters, instead of being saved by other characters, time and time again.

I don’t regret reading In the Shadow of the Dragon King; however, I do wish that I had enjoyed this one a bit more. Nevertheless, it seems that many do love it on Goodreads, and you might too.

{ I received this title in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you, especially to the author and publisher, for kindly giving me an opportunity to review this title. }
Profile Image for J.N. Bedout.
Author 5 books57 followers
November 22, 2017
Destinies collide in this enjoyable tale. Modern with fantasy. Commoner vs royal. Good dragons vs evil dragons. Fire vs ice. In many ways, the two protagonists, David and Eric, share similar traits. Both exude youth. Both unveil their secret pasts as the tale unwinds. The tale also reminded me of video games like World of Warcraft, which the book also mentions, though not by name, within its pages. Paladins were supposed to be large and strong, for example, not scrawny. An enjoyable, easy read.
Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 9 books1,067 followers
April 14, 2016
When I was a teenager, I was full-on obsessed with The Lord of the Rings. I had practically memorized the maps of Middle Earth and imagined how cool it would be to escape my life and go on a quest with the characters. (I also had a huge crush on Aragorn, but that’s beside the point…)

Anyway, reading Tolkien spurred my love of dragons and fantasy. I have massive amounts of respect for any writer who can create a fantasy world out of nothing and make it feel real, as real as the world in which we live. J. Keller Ford proves that she is such a writer in the first book in her Chronicles of Falhallow series.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is a riveting read. It’s rich with details and has an ethereal quality that’s hard to describe, but as I was reading, I felt like I could escape into the words and be in the world Ford created. The main characters, Eric and David, feel so genuine and authentic. Eric lives in the enchanted realm of Falhallow, while David lives in the modern world—until he finds himself called to Falhallow. Further complicating the plot is David’s best friend, Charlotte, who he has more than friendly feelings for. To destroy the dragon, Eric and David have to learn to work together and trust each other, which is a bit more difficult in reality than it sounds in theory.

I’m so excited for teens to discover this book and fall in love with it like I did with fantasy when I was a teenager. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is a story with a timeless, classic feel, and I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series!
Profile Image for Sarah B.
813 reviews13 followers
February 22, 2022
So this book had started out good but I quickly found the main characters in here to be just too annoying! And that is unfortunate. All three main teenage characters, Eric, David and Charlotte, were whining about things constantly. And it got old very quickly too. Eric wanted others to say how great he was (and was willing to put others in grave danger due to his pride), David was getting angry often and Charlotte was upset because the knight was killing people who was trying to kill them! It was kind of ridiculous! I had hoped for a great dragon story but this isn't it. It got so bad I was even losing interest at the end too.

And while the huge dragon Einar was supposed to be so deadly, I never felt any suspense or fear while reading this? I think this was because the squabbling between the characters overrode anything else? Plus it's just not written to be suspenseful at all. I guess it's supposed to be a fantasy adventure and while there is a lot of adventure (and traveling) sometimes out of the blue the story took a sudden turn that left me going "huh?" - and I really didn't like that.

There was also a scene in here that I absolutely loathed with a passion! It was where the knight was trying to teach David how to use magic. It came off a torture in my eyes. Bullying. It was cruel. And I don't like putting up with that in books anymore, especially in books aimed at teens. Bullying is not OK. It's not how you teach someone something. Especially someone who has come from the modern world and has culture shock because suddenly they have to accept that dragons, wizards and all sorts of things are suddenly real.

I see this is the first book in a trilogy but I doubt I will read the others.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 11 books316 followers
June 27, 2016
In the Shadow of the Dragon King skillfully weaves the tale of two very different boys with similar destinies. Eric lives in Fallhallow, an enchanted land riddled by war and destruction. David lives in the modern world until he and his friend Charlotte are called upon to travel to Fallhallow. David’s purpose is not immediately clear, but it’s obvious that everyone believes he's somehow tied into the conflict surrounding the dragon king. The complexity of the plot kept me turning pages, trying to guess what would happen next. J. Keller Ford’s world building is both stellar and unique. The contrasting voices of Eric and David were so well crafted and I equally enjoyed both of their stories. And I loved Charlotte – she more than holds her own against the guys, plus she has principles about both love and war and she stands behind them. YA Fantasy fans, this is one to add to your TBR!
Profile Image for Adriana Mather.
Author 6 books2,326 followers
April 3, 2016
This great adventure story is the first installment of a trilogy. It's an exciting read that will leave you breathless and wanting more!

A couple of modern-day teens are transported to an alternate world replete with magic, dragons, and a variety of other mythical beings. It turns out that one of them, David, has a purpose to fulfill. Thousands of lives depend on his ability to rapidly learn magic and win battles against powerful foes. Worse, the life of Charlotte, his closest friend from this world who was accidentally transported to the alternate world, also depends upon him.

So tense and fun!!
Profile Image for Jennifer Eaton.
Author 17 books233 followers
June 6, 2016
My 15 year old son reviews In the Shadow of the Dragon King.

I Wish I had a tape recorder on while he was reading over the past few weeks to catch all his comments along the way… Very refreshing as my picky reader has DNF’ed half the books I’ve given him lately.

Apparently, he’s very into knights and dragons … who knew?

This book is about a realm called Fallhollow in a parallel universe to earth where there is a dragon called Einar that attacks the good kingdom of Hirth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, the Paladin David is summoned, but his good friends Charlotte is accidentally taken also, sending them on their epic journey to fight the dragon.

There is also this “main” character Eric who is not used to his full potential, much to my chagrin. (Because I was team Eric for the first half of the book) He is an honorable, brave young man, squire to the Epic Knight Trog (because Trog was pretty cool).

Trog was the best character in the book by the way… by far. Well, maybe a tie between Trog and Mangus – The larger-than-life mage dude. – Who is also underused. He is only in a few scenes of the book, but manages to stand out as pretty awesome.

Back to Eric – I think he was underused because he seemed to be a main character in the book, but some of his chapters were a page long, where most of David’s chapters were 10-20 pages long. What’s up with that? Definitely wanted more Eric.

Charlotte, I felt for her. [Dude places his hand over his heart] I like how she was strong, and tried to reach for what she wanted, but kept going even when she was unjustly denied.

David at points annoyed me, especially when he was with Charlotte. Ugh. You like her, she likes you. Just get together already! [Dude shakes his chair enough to rattle the springs – I take that as being annoyed in a good way] What was awesome about David is that he can do spells! He can teleport and go invisible, which is everything I’ve ever wanted to do in my whole life, but he underutilized his abilities. I mean … there is a dragon chasing you. Don’t run. Just teleport!!!

The overall plotline was good, but there were a few forced plot points. But they were miniscule enough (like the teleporting things) to not degrade my reading experience.

And Dragons! Let’s talk about the dragon. I think that Einar was pretty, like, creepy and scary. He was Huge! Like, seriously, building size. You couldn’t even describe him because he was crazy huge. But then you also had this tiny dragon (Mirth) who could fight the big dragon with lightniiiiing! So cool. [Insert several rambling comments about how cool the dragons were – mom couldn’t type fast enough]

Shadow morphs were creepy. They scared me. And they were annoying because they would brush you with a sword and you had to have your flesh cut away. Trog was, like, cut up all over the place. Blahhhhh! That’s nasty.

In conclusion, this book had dragons and knights and parallel universes that made me contemplate my human existence.

I give it a four out of five stars losing one half star for under using some great characters and losing another half a star because freaking teleport already!

But yeah, I really liked it a lot. I mean, dragons and knights, you know?

Next book please! Wait. I have to Wait HOW LONG? Noooooooooo! Not fair!
Profile Image for Maghon Thomas.
1,287 reviews1 follower
Want to read
August 11, 2018

My mind is blown with how completely magnificent this book is! And I'm super grateful Ms J is making it a trilogy. And though the blurb is good it really doesn't do this book justice because there's just so much... MORE! So there's two major places this book takes place, our normal world, and Fallhollow. Davis lives here in our world but he is a lot more than just human. His parents sent him here to be safe from the threats at home. And then Eric is from Fallhollow. He's a knight's squire. He's a good guy but he just wants more and has ambition for things he's not ready to hear. There's a lot of secrets being kept from both of them and when some of those secrets start coming out, they react so differently. David kinda shuts down until he has not choice. Eric lashes out and has a few immature choices he made.

I loved the characters so much. They are all so well developed and each one feels real! Like a person I just talked to. It's hard to do that well, but Ms J did it with ease! You're gunna not only fall for Eric and David, but for Charlotee, whom is David's human best friend that he's secretly in love with. And you'll fall in love with Eric's sneaky best friend, and Sir T as I called him, and the other Knights. You'll even love the king and queen, and the crazy magical sorcerers, sorceress, and even the bag guys. And there's more than one dragon, one I adore and one that needs to not live for too much longer. There's a lot of good things happening between characters but there's also betrayal and secrets and some not so savory happening as well.

Now on to the world building. Holy crap on a cracker batman, this is one of the BEST world buildings I've ever read!!! And it's done in a way that you don't really notice until halfway though the book it's like a stunning painting floating in your brain. Ms J introduced this beautiful world of Fallhollow slowly so it's not two pages of info dump shoved in your face. As the characters travel you see what they see. And the writing, well that should already be easy for you to guess how I feel. It's spectacular. I was completely hooked!! I found myself picking up my book every single second I could! And when it ended I almost cried, until I read the author note at the end stating there will be another book. Then in seconds I was cheering out loud!! And I'm absolutely dying for that next book!!! And I think this book can appeal to almost anyone, no matter age or genre preference because it's just that good!!! Ms J, THANK YOU times 10 for letting me read your book. Be prepared for me to stalk you until books 2 and 3 are in my grubby little paws!!!! And to everyone else, not all dragons are bad, but not all dragons are good- be prepared for this! 5 PHENOMENONAL PAWS!!!
Profile Image for La La.
975 reviews126 followers
January 22, 2019
3.5 on the blog.

This is a solid story. The fact that two of the main characters are from modern times makes this a perfect book for Contemporary YA lovers to test drive some Fantasy. I liked that there weren't too many battle scenes and people also used their brains to solve problems and not just swords. I also loved that the author added the way things smelled in general, not just the good aromas. Ha ha. So many writers forget how odors can round out a setting. She is also very skilled at describing dragon movement and its affect on the surrounding environment. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.

I will be reviewing this series as a whole on my blog and will add the link when it is posted.
Profile Image for Alexa.
653 reviews35 followers
June 6, 2016
While I did a spend a good portion of this book without a super-clear idea of what was going on, for once, that actually didn’t bother me too much. What I mean is, since the book was mostly in deep third POV, I only knew what the POV character, either Eric or David, knew and often, that wasn’t a lot. People spent a lot of time keeping these two in the dark, feeding them only the information they ABSOLUTELY NEEDED to know—and frankly, sometimes not even that much.

But even with that, even when I wasn’t exactly sure who the bad guys were or why Eric and David were so important for defeating them or even precisely what we were fighting for, this novel was still exciting and enjoyable, gripping my interest with the spellbinding storytelling. In fact, my favorite part about the plot became watching all the pieces come together, and then as I reread a few favorite sections to prepare for this review, finding all the places where the clues first popped up and realizing anew what they actually meant. Truth be told, not everything was explained, but it was still really cool to watch all the clues dropped, the half-overheard conversations, the puzzle pieces I just couldn’t quite connect all come together to create the full story at the end.

If you'd like to read more of my thoughts on this book, you can find the full review on Verbosity Reviews
Profile Image for Sheryl Winters.
Author 8 books160 followers
August 29, 2016
I love this book! I just don't like it, I love it! I could go one for hours about how in-depth this book is. It was truly a deep fantasy ride filled with beautiful descriptions! I fell in love with David, was awed by Slavandria(Sp?) and Charlotte was my kind of heroine, Eric however, needed a good swift kick in the butt. There were dragons, intrigue, a man named Trog, missing royalty, a woman with light purple hair. A definite must read!
25 reviews
June 1, 2016
I loved this book! Wasn't expecting a book like this. The connection between the actual world and the fantasy world, blew my mind. All the characters were really interesting and well developed, i must say a built a special fondness for Eric!!
Well done Mrs Ford, well done!!

Profile Image for Kameron Williams.
Author 3 books26 followers
October 18, 2017
I read a lot of fantasy, and it's always nice to become engrossed in a magical new world. This one didn't disappoint. I completely fell for Fallhollow.

The characters were three-dimensional and full of life, and the integration of two worlds was different from what I'm used to reading. There were twists to keep things exciting, and the description was just enough without the flowery, "purple prose" some authors resort to using--which can be poetic but often times unnecessary and distracting. I'm very interested in what happens in the books to follow.
664 reviews23 followers
April 12, 2016
This review was originally posted on my review blog Deanna Reads:

I initially requested this ARC because I read the synopsis and thought it sounded a lot like Skyrim. I thought to myself, "Dragons, and someone called the Paladin? Sounds an awful lot like the Dragonborn...I'm in!" Since I've been burning through the game I thought it was a perfect book for me to read. And I have to say I did end up really enjoying this one!

What really hooked me in was the world building. From the first chapter we are introduced to Eric's world of Fallhallow, and I was thinking, "Okay, yes, I'm about this." I was a little jarred in the next chapter when we meet David and he's in the modern world, but if you continue to read, that part of the story makes a lot more sense. I thought the political background was pretty interesting. It is really the backstabbing politics of this world that has caused the Dragon King to escape and started a new war. There is also even a mention of churches and religion, which I liked because I feel like we don't get a lot about religion in YA, and I would like to see that explored more.

I was also intrigued by how the Mages are viewed in this society. At times they refer to "men" as "other" from themselves and are "forbidden to interfere with the lives of men." I found this a little confusing at first because it seemed like that meant all Mages were not human, but I think what Ford is trying to convey here is that the Mages are the "other" in this world and they don't really adhere to the same rules as humans. Although, they do interfere A LOT more than they claim. Sir Trogsdill our knight in the story actually makes a comment about this at the end of the novel, which just made me love him more.

Although I really enjoyed this one, there were a few things that fell flat for me, but by no means were deal breakers. I had a hard time sympathizing with Eric. He acted childish and I found his quest for glory to be rather selfish. He does realize his mistake towards the end, but I felt like his character development and even the ending of this novel was a little rushed. I found our other hero David to be a little annoying in the beginning of the novel, but I think I understood why. He was a kid that was whisked away to a strange land and told he was supposed to be some sort of dragon slayer. He has to find the strength in himself to rise to the occasion, and I could understand his struggle more than Eric's struggle to be taken seriously. I do like that when these two meet they really don't like each other. They are both strong-willed and determined characters that I thought it would make sense that they wouldn't get along. There was definitely a power struggle between them, and I liked that Keller included that.

One other thing I want to see in the next book is more of Charlotte. I felt like we got a good sense of who she was in the beginning of the story, but once her and David get sent to Fallhallow I felt like she wasn't that developed as a character. I definitely want to see her fleshed out a little more. I want a real reason for why she needs to be with David in this strange land. I know in this novel it's because she is now a healer, but I didn't see enough of that to really convince me of her purpose in this story.

I think if you love a fantasy world with great world building, or you have an interest in dragons this is good book for you. I also think the author did a good job of making this fantasy world accessible to non-fantasy fans by having the two main characters have non-fantasy sounding names, which I kind of really appreciate. I was intrigued by the land of Fallhallow, and I am excited to see where Keller takes us in her next book!

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Sara.
416 reviews45 followers
June 8, 2017
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the lovely author. This has not altered my opinion on the book.

One look at this cover and I really couldn’t say no. This desire was only amplified after reading the summary on the back. With the dragon on the cover, it’s a sealed deal and it seemed like the ideal fantasy book and I was looking forward to a solid adventure. That is what I got, though not exactly in the way I anticipated.

To say I disliked this book would be highly inaccurate. This book is pretty awesome and has some great dialogue and unique characters, thought it did feel quite a bit like two very separate stories until the end. On the one side, you have Eric’s story which felt all over medieval and I loved the dialogue and Eric really grew on me as a character as I continued the story. I didn’t like him per say, but I understood why he was the way he was by the end and I grew to expect his sass and ability to annoy me through the pages. On the other hand, David bugged me from the beginning, his side of the story is very modern. Even the characters from his line of the story who are from Fallhollow felt very modern, almost contradictory to the era. I really wasn’t a fan of Charlotte, mostly because I felt as though she hindered David’s acceptance as to what he is, although some could argue she’s the reason he was so driven to go back home.

I did enjoy the world and the dragon very much and had some solid dragon feels that brought up the fantasy appeal. There was non-stop action and I loved that part, though I do wish that David had saved himself a bit more, but it happens. 3.5 out of 5 beans from me!
Profile Image for Michelle (Bookaholic Banter).
656 reviews144 followers
May 31, 2016
DNF'd at 50%

When I read the synopsis for this book I was so excited to get my hands on this book! It sounded so exciting and like an epic adventure. Unfortunately this novel just fell completely flat for me. I really tried to like it. I got halfway through this book and I just had to put it down. I just couldn't go on any longer. I felt like there wasn't much world building. The conversations in the book were lengthy and unneeded at times. It felt like I was reading a conversation more than reading a story. I couldn't connect to the characters. They were supposed to be 16 years old but they reminded me more of nine or ten year olds with the way they acted. They were annoying, whiney, and just very immature.

It got confusing at times and I couldn't keep track of all of the characters. I felt like the story was way more tell than show. Everything was being told and explained to me in conversation rather than being shown. At times it was all over the place. It felt rushed.

It didn't keep my interest and I was forcing myself to read it in hopes that it would just get better. The plot started to get a little weird for me and seemed very unbelievable and ridiculous. The characters started to completely annoy me and I just had to put it down. I was very disappointed. I really wanted to love this book. I was completely let down. The cover is absolutely stunning and the synopsis sounded excellent and I thought this was going to be a fun and fantastic read but it just wasn't. :-(

Profile Image for Rose.
42 reviews1 follower
May 20, 2016
I received a free copy of this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This is an okay fantasy adventure, it just didn’t engage me the way I hoped it would.

The two main characters are two teenage boys named Eric and David who are navigating the magical world of Fallhollow. Eric is a hot-headed squire desperate to prove himself and David is a confused high school student forced into Fallhollow by people claiming that he is a paladin with a destiny in their world. The book switches between their points of view, with David getting considerably more space. David’s best friend, Charlotte, is also mistakenly taken to Fallhollow, so he spends a lot of time wrestling with his romantic feelings towards her and trying to protect her.

It’s a pretty good set up and I think the world of Fallhollow has promise and some interesting fantasy elements, but the writing seemed a bit simple and flat to me and plot was really drawn out. David doesn’t find out even the basics of what’s going on until chapter 13! The main characters never really grew on me, either. David is not very bright and Charlotte just seems to be there so that people can literally dangle her in front of David as motivation.

Still, it’s a decent read and Fallhollow is interesting, so others may connect with it better and enjoy it a little more than I did.
Profile Image for Everly Frost.
Author 38 books872 followers
April 20, 2016
In the Shadow of the Dragon King is a wonderful mix of high fantasy and urban fantasy. It took me back to all the fantasy adventures I’ve loved: The Princess Bride, The Labyrinth, Willow, and The Lord of the Rings—all the books and movies that make the imagination soar and realms full of rich detail and magical creatures come to life.

The story is told from dual points of view: Eric is a squire who is inquisitive and brave and lives in the magical realm of Fallhollow, while David—equally brave and determined to protect his best friend—grew up in the world as we know it, hidden from those in Fallhollow who would do him harm. There are secrets that are revealed about both of them, some I took delicious delight in knowing before the characters themselves, but others that took me by surprise. It’s a mark of a good storyteller that the reader can experience both in a book.

The secondary characters are also really well developed, with stories of their own, and some particular stand-outs for me were Trog, Slavandria, and Charlotte.

The ending is great with plenty left to look forward to in the next book. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Profile Image for Nina.
301 reviews28 followers
July 2, 2016
Thanking the author for this opportunity to read and review In the Shadow of the Dragon King.

I'll be honest and tell you, there wasn't much more on my mind than "Oh, a dragon? I'm in!" when I got my hands on this book. I had no idea where it would take me. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't care! I just didn't expect how intense the connection with 'the here and now' & the parallel world of Fallhollow would be.

Chapters and worlds alternate each other. In Fallhollow we've got Eric, who's much more than a squire, but when and how is he going to find out who he really is? Far more than the mission he's on! On the other hand, we've got David. A regular teen who might not be as ordinary as he thinks he is! When he finds out, a whole new world unfolds.

A paladin? Destined to fulfill a two-hundred-year-old prophecy? What about Eric? And the dragon? Will they be able to save the kingdom of Hirth?

If you like parallel world, knights and dragons - or any combination of the above, then In the Shadow of the Dragon King is something for you! Trust me, it's EPIC!
Profile Image for Amber Ballard.
452 reviews15 followers
June 26, 2016
In The Shadow Of The Dragon King By J. Keller Ford

Had Eric known what daylight would bring after the nightmares ended, he would have remained in bed, the covers pulled over his head. Instead, he waded through the puddles of the castle’s upper courtyard, each gong from the clock tower coiling his stomach into tighter knots. Sloshing beside him along the aisle of topiaries and statues was his best friend, a devilish lad with unkempt hair the color of dirt and a cockeyed grin.

I don't know why but I love this start!!! Devilish lad with unkept hair lol!

I love this book, it did take me forever to get into the book but once I did man! This book was intense on the edge of your seat nonstop action! I was so surprised about Trog (I won't leave a spoiler) but man I have to say what a sacrifice I know love him more!!! I'm kind of hoping Charlotte and Eric get together and that will be the reason she was brought! I can say with all honesty this author is going places!!! I can't wait to read the next book!!!!
Profile Image for Emmyjo.
400 reviews8 followers
May 30, 2016
This book is pretty great. We have lots of mystery and hidden secrets and dragons, even sword fighting. What's not to like about this book? However it does have kind of two different stories that make you think one is in the past and one is present or future. But they do intertwine and basically come to together and make sense.
We first met Eric a young guy who is training to be a knight with Trog one of the best out there. But Eric is tired of just polishing boots and cleaning swords.
He gets into some trouble more then a few times trying to prove that he is ready and worthy.
Then we meet David and Charlotte who are in the present. David is a rich kid who lives with his God mother because his parents died. His best friend is Charlotte whom he is in love with. David learns he is born with some magic and must go to another world and Dave a land there and Charlotte finds herself being sucked there with David.
Together meeting Slavandria learning about his birth right and such.
I don't want to give away to many spoilers so just check this book out for yourself.
Profile Image for Jan farnworth.
1,285 reviews83 followers
May 27, 2016
This a delightful story that weave the story of two boys who lives are intertwined even thought they are from to very different worlds. You got David from our world who has no knowledge of magic and then you got Eric who just wants to be noticed for those things he desperately feels he can do. The two will meet and those this book is very long for a first novel it does a great job of describing the landscape, the creatures you encounter and keeps you guessing right up to the end. A very well done an thought out story.
Profile Image for LaGina.
1,906 reviews39 followers
May 31, 2016
What can I say about this book other then it is full of detail that lets you picture how it looks in you mind and its makes for a great escape. The characters were able to catch my interest and hold me and made me fall deeper and deeper into Fords wonderful world. I enjoyed this book so much that I told my kids about it and now they want to read it. And that says a lot cause they dont read like I do..lol
Profile Image for J.L. Willow.
Author 3 books48 followers
July 6, 2018
In the Shadow of the Dragon King is a gripping fantasy novel by J. Keller Ford. It follows two teens, Eric and David, as their lives connect and collide in ways they never imagined. They are forced to get over their differences and come together to protect those they love, or risk see their lives reduced to ash.

In addition to the thrilling plot, one of the most compelling parts of the story were the characters found within it. Ford is an expert in character development and the interactions between different characters were absolutely brilliant. The realism strikes the reader in a subtle way that grows as the story progresses. By the time the characters are in dire straits, I found myself caring for the boys in ways I never expected. I felt their joy and excitement, pain and grief. I haven’t connected with characters that deeply in a long time, and it was really refreshing to read something so well crafted.

Ford also showed solid execution of comedic interactions throughout the book. Eric and his friend Sestian often had bantering conversations that held authentic humor and made me smile quite a few times. Although there were some points when a few of the comments seemed a out of place, nearly all of the humor hit the right beat.

World-building, in my opinion, is one of the most complicated and difficult parts about writing fantasy, but this is another department where Ford excelled. The world she created is revealed slowly in smaller increments without the use of overwhelming description blocks. It’s apparent a lot of time and energy went into the creation of the world and the characters found within it. I found myself enjoying the exploration of the world along with its characters.

I did, however, find a few flaws with the book. Some of the descriptions were skimmed over, and I sometimes had a hard time remembering what people and places looked like. I also found that, although Eric and David came from seemingly completely different time periods and locations, their dialect was very similar. I’m just nit-picking at this point, and these were very minor things in comparison to the rest of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was funny and entertaining at points, but also had moments of authentic tragedy. The balance between light-heartedness and sadness in the tone was executed very well. The action sequences in particular were extremely enjoyable.

In the Shadow of the Dragon King is an excellent example of well-balanced fantasy, complete with relatable characters and firey action sequences. I highly recommend for anyone interested in a refreshing story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat at all times.
Profile Image for Lynne.
128 reviews16 followers
August 5, 2018
It's hard to rate this one...I couldn't stand Charlotte or David which brought my rating down to two stars (seriously - Charlotte is THAT annoying), however the other cast of characters, the plot and the world setting would have been an easy four stars w/o the two main characters. Three stars is a happy medium but gawd I wanna throat punch Charlotte
Profile Image for Zachary Flye.
616 reviews15 followers
April 24, 2016

Protagonists: This book is told in alternating points of view between Eric, a young squire, who after constant coddling sets out to prove himself, and David a boy from a world much like ours who finds out that he holds an immense destiny in Fallhollow. A lot of Eric's character development stems from the fact that Sir Trogsdill, the knight he serves, and all of Trog's friends handle Eric with kid gloves. They are so overprotective of him that at one point in the story he snaps and does whatever he can to show them that he can not only handle himself in the face of danger but succeed. On the whole I rather liked Eric, he could be pig-headed and stubborn but he was still a very likeable character at the end of the day. Then there's David, my biggest problem with David is that he feels like every bad thing that happens around him, even those out of his control are his fault. This is a character trope that I hate above all else. Really it makes for a really annoying character who believes that they should have been in control of not only their actions but the actions of others as well. There is development with him though and hopefully he'll be a bit more levelheaded in future installments.

Romance: So this romance really bugged me. First off while it's not necessarily a pre-established romance as the characters aren't dating prior to the start of the book, they may as well be. Seriously David and Charlotte act like they're dating but never actually call it that. Then when their feelings do come to light David has the world's worst excuse as to why they can't be together. It just felt very contrived and even if David had a good reason for them to not be together, I still couldn't root for them because I never felt that chemistry between them, except for maybe in one scene. The author did a lot of telling instead of showing. Constantly reminding the reader that Charlotte is the love of David's life without really showing us why he fell for her or why he loves her.

World-Building: So I have to admit, the description of this book really confused me to what this story was going to be. From the description I assumed that somehow Eric and David were going to venture out on a quest together and get on each other's nerves before eventually succumbing to friendship and saving the world. That however didn't happen. I'm not mad though, I was just confused since that was the vibe I got from the synopsis. Instead it's almost two stories in one that only truly interconnect near the end. The world of Fallhollow was really interesting, the political intrigue and magic system were particularly interesting. My biggest problem though was the writing. I mean for the most part it was okay, great even, but there were times when things were still a bit rough, things were revealed in such an out of the blue or jarring way, or things were resolved way too quickly. It could just be that I got an earlier version before these rough spots were buffed and polished. Finally there were moments that I felt like I was missing something, even going back in the text to double check that I didn't, which really bothered me.

Predictability: So, there was actually quite a bit about this book that I couldn't predict. In fact other than a few vague things I didn't guess any of the huge shocks in this book. The funny thing though is that the author sort of sets up what's going to be revealed without the actual reveal, leading me to lots of crazy conspiracy theories, and even some way out of left field theories. Though when things are finally revealed most of the time I was shocked that I at least got part of the reveal right. The one thing that bothers me though is that there are things set up, things that I felt were supposed to be revealed in this installment that weren't that sort of bug me since it also feels like they were just dropped from the storyline, and they still bug me.

Ending: So the ending isn't at all what I expected it would be going into this book, though going into this book I hadn't expected David and Eric to meet at the end. So going into the final climax of this book everything was very high intensity and the action and battle started to almost go by too fast. While I understood what was going on there were a few moments that either felt way too convenient or that I wasn't quite sure how something got from point A to point B. When we got to the cooldown period though was when I got the most confused. A character was very certain about one thing that made no sense, I mean I guess it made sense just that there wasn't exactly anything to hint at this thing happening, I'm sorry if I'm confusing you I just want to avoid spoilers whenever possible. Let's just say the ending has some confusing and anti-climactic moments.


So I debated really hard on this rating. On the one hand this story is incredible the world is exciting and rich, on the other though the writing is rough, the romance sadly underdeveloped, and there are just some things that don't quite add up. At the end of the day though I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next installment.
Profile Image for Sunshine Somerville.
Author 17 books114 followers
October 5, 2016
I read this book a lot faster than I thought I would because the world and adventure drew me in. There’s a good bit of action to balance out a lot of explanation and dialogue – which was needed in a book that spans both our world and a fantasy one. There’s a good range of characters, and the main heroes’ journeys make you want to follow them along and figure out what’s up.
The world of Fallhollow is your basic fantasy realm with kings and queens, mages, knights, and of course dragons. The history to the world was pretty well-explained and sets the story in motion. David is a very unlikely hero, his love Charlotte gets pulled along for the ride, and when they enter this realm we get to see everything through their eyes.
The author added an interesting element by making Charlotte very, very anti-war. What David is asked to do conflicts with this so that they both have to reevaluate what fighting for justice really means and costs. This was a bit infuriating at times because Charlotte is so set in this mindset that she doesn’t seem to understand the reality of their situation. It also kind of stunts David’s growth into the “savior” character he is supposed to be, so it left them a little weak for me.
Then there’s the alternating viewpoint of Eric. Through his eyes, we see the insider’s view of Fallhollow. He knows the knights and king and queen, he knows the publically known story of their history with the dragon. And by eavesdropping (there’s a lot of eavesdropping!), he picks up clues about what’s really going on. This worked for me because it added mystery and tension to the story, while David’s viewpoint was more about getting from point A to point B.
As a character, Eric is conflicted in many different ways – with the death of his friend, with feeling overlooked, with wanting fame, with not being trusted, etc. I’m never a fan of whiney teenage drama, and I mostly wanted to slap Eric. BUT, I think you’re supposed to. He clearly has a lot of growing up to do, but by the time the truth is revealed I still wasn’t sure he was worth the trouble of liking him.
Overall, this book is a fun adventure. It has many elements of a typical fantasy world, and the use of magic is pretty cool. All the intrigue adds to the plot, and although some people might not like all the dialogue I thought it helped flesh out the characters.
344 reviews1 follower
November 6, 2016
Great read! The story starts with David, a teenage boy who lives on earth. He's a normal teenager with a crush on his best friend Charlotte. Eric is a squire from a medieval parallel universe. In Eric's world, magic exists and the Dragon King has risen and started a war. David is pulled from his dimension into Eric's. Once David arrives in this extremely different reality he is confronted by supernatural beings, mystical surroundings, and evil villains who want to kill him. It's like he's gone down the rabbit hole (as mentioned in the books):) David has a quest. A quest that can change the fate of two worlds. The two characters journeys are destined to collide. Neither boy knew there station in life, who there parents were, or what the heck was going on at the start of the story. Did I mention there are DRAGONS?!

It is a great story. I couldn't put it down and look forward to the sequel!!!
1 review1 follower
February 9, 2017
The people whom rated this 1 star, didn't read it! I Really enjoyed it and looking forward to book 2 and 3!!!
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 46 books123 followers
June 14, 2016
An intriguing, riveting tale of two very different characters in one very unique and compelling world. I loved this book!
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