Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dragons, Students, and More, oh My

Cross Eyed Dragon Troubles
Gloria Oliver
Hardshell word
distributed by

Though leaving home to become an apprentice to the Dragon Knight guild is the last thing Talia wants, she accepts her fate to help her family ease its financial woes. Even her leave taking is less than auspicious; a cross eyed dragon and a squire, not a knight, pick her up and take her there, giving her one of the more harrowing experiences of her short life. However, Clarence and his human, Kel, are not bad sorts, and will, in fact become two of the most important beings in Talia's life in the days to come.

Life at school is a tremendous change. Talia finds herself in what she considers luxury, and though the work is hard, she quickly makes new friends, earns ample funds, and through bizarre tests, learns new skills. It is not all good, though. A secret "admirer" brings not only her, but Clarence and Kel trouble that could prove dangerous for the trio, and an attack from monstrous beings almost forces Talia to have to do the unthinkable.

With ample maturity to appeal to official adults and enough innocence to make it teen friendly, this is a story that is sheer magic, and not just because of the subject matter. Ms. Oliver has built a world that springs to life in your mind and before it is over, your heart. Hints of budding romance add a sweetness to things, but that is merely a "flavor enhancer," for the mind. Quirky, multi-faceted characters and a heart warming aura combined with plot elements that make you want to learn more make this a treasure. If you enjoyed Mercedes Lackey's Herald Mages, the Harperhall trilogy of Pern, the Casts' Marked series, or yes, Harry Potter, you simply need this in your collection. I hated for the story to end, and hope Talia, Kel, and Clarence have more ahead of them.

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