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‘The Dragondain’ by Richard Due

THE SYNOPSIS

It’s the middle of the night, you need to send your brother to the Moon Realm, and he won’t wake up. So you improvise. . . .

When a confused Jasper awakes, he’s convinced he’s dreaming. But by the time he meets Greydor, Jasper understands that this is no dream. In fact, persuading the King of the Rinn to work with the men of Dain to defeat their common enemy is a nightmare. Then there’s the other side of the coin: convincing Tavin and Dubb that saddling a Rinn isn’t certain death. (“It’ll be fun!”) And perhaps even a greater worry: can he make friends with Dubb’s daughter Darce before she punches his lights out?

Lily has problems, too. There’s a little mousie scratching in her closet. Or at least, it sounds like a little mousie. Oh, and her second confrontation with Curse, and trying to form her first peerin. (Don’t you have to be from Dain to do that?) And where’s Ebb?

Only one thing is certain. Now that Lily and Jasper have entered the Moon Realm, nothing can ever be the same again.

Photograph of illustrator Carolyn ArcabascioIllustrated by Carolyn Arcabascio. Volume Two of the The Moon Realm Series.

 

THE AUTHORRICHARD DUE

A photograph of fantasy author Richard DueRichard Due, knew from an early age that he enjoyed story-telling, although  he never set out to write YA fantasy, with his initial decision being to write science fiction noir, and science fiction short stories.

He first imagined the Moon Realm while telling bedtime tales to his children and once the idea for the series entered his head, he had no choice but to get it into print, although he is eternally grateful that it didn’t demand to be written in first person, because he is the first to confess that he just doesn’t have the skills to write epic fantasy in first person.

‘The Moon Coin’, the first episode in ‘The Moon Realm’ series, did not come easily and with some major reworking of the storyline necessary before Richard was happy with the adventure and its outcome, some six years had past from inception to publication.

Following some difficult encounters with various publishers and editors, Richard took the brave step of setting up his own small press and self publishing ‘The Moon Coin’ as an ebook. He now has the distinction of being the founder of ‘Gibbering Gnome Press’, a division of Ingenius Inventions Run Amok, Ink.

Richard currently hails from Southern Maryland, a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, where he is also the co-owner of  ‘Second Looks Books’

And how would Richard sum himself up …. Book herder. Cyclist. Displaced Viking. Windmill charger. Image hunter.

WORDS FROM THE BOOK

Never bluff with something more powerful than you, Lily. Things more powerful than youself can feel when your bluff is nothing more than a hollow threat, and they will make it your undoing.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THE BOOK

“Tales, unlike stories, never lie. You see, a tale is an account of things in their due order, often divulged secretly, or as gossip.”

‘The Dragondain’, is the second book in the ‘Moon Realm’ fantasy series. Written ostensibly with young adults as its primary reading audience, this series not only makes for some excellent bedtime reading aloud, (which is where the inspiration for the idea first started in the Due household), for said audience, but is also a fabulous collection for adults to indulge themselves in reading, once the youngsters are asleep and dreaming of far away places!

Just one small word of caution though! You really do need to have read the first installment of the series, ‘The Moon Coin’, which I had the pleasure of doing some months ago, or you may find yourself seriously lost and confused.

The journey to the world of the ‘Moon Realm’, is definitely a much richer experience the second time around. Not only are the characters of Jasper and Lily more well drawn, better defined and easier to connect with; the moons themselves have become almost visual for the reader, as Richard’s fluid writing style and rich descriptive prose have brought them to life; and the diverse profusion of complex characters who inhabit the various moon’s of the realm have acquired a life of their own as the multi layered saga unfolds.

The magic is more mesmerising, the adventures more alluring, the building sense of intrigue and danger more tantalising and evocative.

All beautifully illustrated, with a colour intensity which brings the story to life and lifts it from the page, by the talent of illustrator Carolyn Arcabascio.

We now find Jasper having adventure of his own in the moon realm, and whilst at present, he is still quite happy to defer to Lily’s superior powers of deduction, logic and organisational skills, I strongly suspect that in  future installments, we shall see Jasper’s role evolve into the much stonger character of the two.

Richard has creatively and intelligently crafted the story, to imbue a real sense of spirit and adventure into the children’s journeys, as they discover more about the amazing powers and influence they have on the moons of the realm, in their search for Uncle Ebb, whose name is revered by many and known to all the creatures they encounter on their travels.

Many others seek this illusive paragon of  stroytelling and travel, however the children are becoming more and more convinced that the secret of Uncle Ebb’s whereabouts may lie closer to his own home on Earth and are increasingly certain that their parents know more than they are letting on … In fact with a perceptiveness far beyond their years, Jasper and Lily are even beginning to question their parentage, as their increasing powers only serve to bring them closer to their wayward Uncle.

All children like the idea of keeping a secret from a sibling, Lily and Jasper are no exception. We find Jasper making moonlight forays into the forbidden grounds and house where Uncle Ebb once lived and Lily discovers a late night visitor of her own, who may not be so welcome! Richard is slowly answering old questions, yet all the while introducing new riddles, objects and characters, ready to expand and enhance the future adventures of this non-stop action saga, where every word counts and continuity of plot and dialogue is all important.


I do have just one small personal grumble, although to most readers this probably wouldn’t even rate a mention … Whilst ‘The Moon Coin’ ended at a point in Lily’s journey and adventures, where there was a natural break in the storyline, ‘The Dragondain’ really did end as something of a cliffhanger and instead of ‘The End’ appearing as the final words on the page, would have been fully deserving of ‘To Be Continued’. A little more resolution and closure on the story to date, would, I felt, have been fair to younger readers.

Richard Due, has provided me with a copy of ‘The Dragondain’, in exchange for me reading and sharing my thoughts. The fact that my copy was gifted, has not influenced, nor in any way will influence in the future, any comments I may  express about the book, in any posts I may publish. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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4 comments
    • Hi Tracy,

      Not only is the cover great, not just here on ‘The Dragondain’, but also on that of the first book in the series ‘The Moon Coin’, but there are also several illustrations inside the books, which are equally eye-catching and inventive. Richard certainly fell on his feet, when he teamed up with illustrator Carolyn Arcabascio for his ‘Moon Realm’ project, with one complimenting the other beautifully.

      This is definitely a book as much for the avid adult fantasy reader, as for the younger readership, although I should imagine it is a great book to have read aloud.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you enjoy the Easter break, despite the winterlike weather!

    • Hi Gwynneth,

      Thank you for deciding to stop by Fiction Books today. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      I haven’t been participating in WWW for very long myself, in fact this is only my fifth post, although to be fair, I don’t publish something every week, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to contribute to all the available memes.

      You really do need to look out for ‘The Moon Coin’ before you read ‘The Dragondain’. Whilst they work well as individual stories, ‘The Moon Coin’ does set the scene for the episodes to follow and puts the main characters into place, so that by the time you get to ‘The Dragondain’, they all seem like old friends!

Written by Yvonne

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