A book review for parents
This first fantasy book in the "DragonKeeper Chronicles" by Donita K. Paul is published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a division of Random House.
DragonSpell is written for kids ages 12 and up. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Kale has spent her young life blindly following orders — but everything changes when she's called by the great Wulder to go on a quest as his dragon keeper. Alongside other followers of Wulder — and with the assistance of Wulder's earthly counterpart, Paladin — Kale undertakes a perilous journey to find an important dragon egg that was stolen by the evil Risto. Along the way, she helps other dragons hatch, embraces allies and fights foes of various races and backgrounds. Most important, she learns more about herself and Wulder's power working within her.
Dragonspell is an overt allegory of the Christian's faith journey: Kale lives as a slave at the beginning, and she spends the book examining who Wulder (God) is, why he chose her to serve him, and how she can learn to trust his will and timing. With the help of Paladin (Christ) and kimens (angels), Kale and her comrades battle the evil, deceptive wizard Risto (Satan).
As Wulder's earthly champion, Paladin is not always present but always available to "mindspeak" with Kale. He's a jovial, hopeful man full of assurances about Wulder and His plan for the uncertain heroine. He assures Kale that she should do what is set before her and let Wulder handle whatever seems impossible. Paladin is strong enough to make the evil characters cower, but he doesn't destroy them because he says the time isn't right and they are serving a purpose. Risto wants to use the dragon egg he's stolen to help him create a race of creatures that will do his bidding; he whispers lies into Kale's mind, pretending to be Paladin, so that she will doubt herself. Granny Noon, Dar, Leetu, Wizard Fenworth and others Kale meets along the way direct her toward Wulder and help her to follow his leading.
Other Belief Systems
Wizards cast spells, dragons heal people and many communicate by mindspeaking (talking with one another telepathically). Though the Christian author clearly points her readers to God at every turn, parents concerned by the use of magical elements should be aware that enchantments and wizardry play key roles in the Dragonspell plot.
People and creatures are injured and killed in a number of battles. The author avoids using graphic imagery to describe the scenes.
2005 Christy Honor Book
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- For a long time, Kale knows nothing about Wulder. When she does learn more, she's overcome by fear. Eventually, she's able to find joy in following him.
Where do you see yourself with regard to your quest to know God better?
What can you do to keep learning about and growing closer to Him?
- Why did Dar refuse to let Celisse (the dragon) help them save Leetu at first?
Did you agree with what he told Kale: "You aren't her friend if you accept her unacceptable behavior"?
- What does the Bible say about revenge (Romans 12:19)?
- Were you bothered by either the elements of magic or the violence in this book? Why or why not?
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.