Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Gift of Charms (The Land of Dragor Book 1) by Julia Suzuki

Series title: The Land of Dragor
Book title: The Gift of Charms (Book 1)
Publisher: John Blake Publishing Ltd, Dino Imprint
Release/delivery date: 4th September 2014

This epic novel, first in the Land of Dragor series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where seven dragon clans live hidden from man.
Their great wars with humans and evil dragsaurs are over and the dragons live peacefully among the smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out, but the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans have left a lasting scar and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world.
There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest.
The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?

A beautifully written fantasy about dragons. This story is about a land where dragons live in peace and harmony, ok so may be not exactly in harmony as some dragons thinks pretty highly of themselves and want to be rulers instead of Surion's clan. But they are hidden from human sight and are living their lives in peace for sure. Each dragon clan hold a unique place in their community and within each clan all the dragons share their colour and traits. Except one youngling. Who is unlike any dragon in his clan. In fact he is unlike any dragon in whole of Dragor. Born from a strange rainbow coloured egg, Yoshiko has odd abilities. He can change colours, mysterious twins gave him a stone and he even visits the mountain where Guya (another dragon everyone avoids) lives in isolation.
Yoshiko is eager to overcome his flaws and learn as much about his land as possible. He is bullied my some students at the fire school but soon he learns to ignore the snide comments of other younglings. The book holds important lessons for young readers.
The scenes are so well written that at times one can almost forget that its a fantasy. All the character are well defined and likable. I really enjoyed reading it and I think its a 5-Star book, all in all. Although it is written for young readers, adults can enjoy it as well. The mysterious beginning of the story, a fantasy world, and superb plot, all makes it a perfect read. I will recommend it to all fantasy lovers. In fact even if you weren't a fantasy lover you should try this book and you might count yourself one.
P.S. I also loved the cover. Its beautiful and intriguing.

About Author
Julia grew up listening to the magical sounds of fair rides and animals from a theme park just across from her home in Staffordshire, England. A love of reading, nature and the outdoors fed her imagination and inspired her to become a storyteller. 
 She has a degree in business studies and creative writing as well as studying speech and drama at the' London School of Music'.

Other interesting facts about Julia:
*Julia has a male harlequin rabbit called ‘Mr. Fancy Business’ who is quite a character. His name truly sums him up. He has a bedroom all to himself that is set up with lots of boxes as hide-outs – very much like a warren. The neighbours cat ‘Lola’ often sits at the window teasing him, clearly wanting him for dinner. But, he seems to do fancy flicks all the more when he sees her, knowing he is in the safety of home. Fancy Business loves to eat banana. One day when Julia was eating one and he jumped up and pestered her crazily for some. If ever he has a treat now he has some banana from her instead of carrot! 

*Julia has a gold plated desk in herbedroom which she feel adds magic to her writing.

*Her guilty pleasure is coffee with a big slice of coffee cake (caffeine addict ~ lol).

Message from the author 
 ‘It was during the time that my son was at junior school that I was inspired to write the first novel.  Ideas came flooding to me. I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this - yet with unique edge and an interactive web presence. I knew first hand what parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, but more than that, I knew also what they sought themselves. Readers want gripping action, loads of adventure - all the classic aspects of  heroes and villains, quests and hangars and the hope of happy endings. 

I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and yet in many ways real to today; to fulfill the expectations of book lovers and hook a non-reader back into reading.  For me this had to be in the form of a series, set in and a place we would all like to visit  - and so the Land of Dragor came to be. 

- Julia Suzuki