Today we begin the blog tour "for real." This month's featured book is DragonLight by Donita K. Paul, the final book in the DragonKeeper series. I've really looked forward to reading this, the final entry.
In it, Kale Allerion and her husband, Bardon, along with the rest of the citizens of Amara, have been at peace after the defeat of Burner Stox and Crim Cropper. Kale's flock of dragons has increased exponentially and Bardon has been hard at work with his duties as a magistrate. But the time has come for them to go on another quest. Along with Regidor and Gilda, they set out to find the lost meech colony.
But all is not well in the lands ruled by Paladin. A strange new sect has arisen called the Followers. They claim to follow new mandates handed down by Paladin himself. And what of the strange attacks by small black dragons who seem focused on destroying Kale?
As the final chapter in this series unfolds, Kale and Bardon find themselves fighting for their lives and those they love against an ancient, slumbering evil that is close to waking up.
While Paul's writing was excellent as always, I finished the book feeling a little disappointed. The story judt didn't hang together that well for me.
For starters, there was the Followers. In my opinion, this subplot felt tacked on, almost like it was filler. I was fascinated and quite excited that Kale and Bardon would be taking on a nefarious heresy, exposing the evil that lurked beneath the surface while putting their lives at risk. Truth be told, I was more interested in the Followers than in the search for the missing meech colony.
This may be "Monday morning quarterbacking," but I think the Followers could have been the center of the book. Instead, they became something Kale and Bardon did while they were waiting around for the "main quest" to keep going. Most of the action (including the Followers rise to power and subsequent fall) happened "off stage," so to speak. They played such a minor role in the book, it almost felt like they were put in to fill out the book a little. Since Bardon and Kale played a very minor role in their downfall, it left me wondering why the Followers were in there at all.
Second, there's the way the book ended. In some ways, it felt like a deus ex machina to me. Or in this case, a deus ex doneel. This includes how Gilda became a true "good guy." It felt a bit unnatural.
And finally, there's the way this book relates to the other four. It felt a bit anticlimactic and it's all because of the villain they faced.
The villain didn't seem worthy of being the "big bad evil" in the final book of the series. There was a definite "hierarchy of evil" in the previous four books that went something like this:
That is perhaps the part of that frustrated me the most. While Paul did drop a few hints in two of the previous books about how this final story would play out, it wasn't enough. There should have been other threads about this final big bad guy woven in through the previous books, just enough so that we could look back later and go, "Hey, yeah! I remember her talking about that!"
Instead, the villain seemingly pops up out of nowhere and didn't seem connected to what came before. To put it another way, imagine if in Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam defeated Sauron and destroyed the One Ring in The Two Towers and then the former Fellowship did battle with space aliens in the final book.
In spite of what might be perceived as a massive dose of negativity, I have really enjoyed the DragonKeeper books. Like I said yesterday, I've enjoyed sojourning in the creative and colorful world that Paul created. And I'm also looking forward to the next series that's apparently starting up in 2009. I just wish that the final book of this series sat better with me.
Make sure to check out what other people are saying on the tour, especially those with the asterisk next to them. Consider them "Blog Tour All-Stars." They've been with the tour since the beginning, which was focused around DragonKnight:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
* Beth Goddard
Todd Michael Greene
* Shannon McNear
* Rebecca LuElla Miller
* Cheryl Russel
* Steve Trower