But those who hold true power know that prophecies have been told of Lanen Kaelar since before her birth. They fear the destiny she may fulfill, the mysteries she may unravel--and the strange and terrifying love she may find on the legendary Dragon Isle.
Comment: I had written, in a very small penciled line in the first page of the paperback edition I purchased, the day this book arrived at my house. It was in a day of February 2010. This means this book has been in the pile for ten years, waiting to be read.
At the time I was quite devoted to PNR and fantasy romance and I was eager to try different worlds and be marveled by them.
Then time and other reads got in the way and, years later, some things no longer appeal but this one, thankfully, was good enough to have captivated me, although it's not perfect.
In this fantasy world we meet heroine Lanen, a young woman who, after her father dies, feels she can finally give in to her dreams of seeing the world beyond their property. To do so, she leaves home with a family friend who is more like a father to her than her own father used to be and when thy part, she has warnings and a new knowledge of her mother, whom she never grew up with.
Lanen has had dreams of the dragons, mythical beings who, rumor says, live in Dragon Isle, a place that is very difficult to reach and only in every few years, the storms abate and allow the sea travel from the continent of Kolmar to Dragon Isle. This year is such one and Lanen is eager to go there and see the island for herself.
In the midst of adventure and demon lords though, will Lanen be able to cope with what she finds in the island and how that will affect her destiny?
This book was originally published in 1996, and I've come to realize, along with other reads from around the same period, there's a certain trend when it comes to fantasy romance: the romance happens almost by fate, as if it just had to happen and the romantic relationship is a given, the couple accepts and goes along with it but all that in the middle of some more drama and battling enemies who don't want to change the status quo of the world they live in.
I suppose these were basic rules that had to happen for the story to be published. I mean, nothing wrong with it, but it's as if the romance couldn't happen if there wasn't some kind of revolution so to speak, to justify it.
Part of me would want the romance for the sake of it, without outside interference to influence why and how it ends up developing.
This world is divided into three main species: the dragons (who in ancient times chose to defend order), the demons (obviously defended chaos) and the humans (who wanted to be able to choose their path). There's another race who didn't want to chose anything so they faded out.
The author has created specific designations for these types of beings and although at first it may sound a little silly, it's easy to follow.
I think the whole world building is easy enough to understand and a map of the world of Kolmar in the beginning of the book helped me visualize the characters' movements.
The writing style is not different from other similar fantasy books, it's quite direct, multiple POV chapters/scenes including by the bad guys, and an obvious secret agenda some parties wish to delay uncovering as long as possible. I can understand this tactic but it can also be a little frustrating and over the top when some revelations happen.
Despite that, I was constantly interested in what would happen next and I liked the romance too, even though it happens in a unlikely pace.
Lanen has always been a dreamer, a person hoping her fate was not the same old of those near her. I confess this side of her, quite handy for the novel, didn't immediately win me over because I'd never think of leaving my home for a nomad life but her travel leads her to the dragon's island and there she meets her destiny.
The hero is Akhor, the king of dragons, and besides obvious reasons why they can't be together, along with a bunch of historical censorship on why the races should not be friendly to one another, they still start talking and fall in love. Akhor is the quintessential hero of a fantasy novel but I must say the way the novel ended for him and Lanen, despite having a HEA, was still not perfect for me.
I imagine the following novels of this trilogy will offer better odds/conclusions for their troubles but...well, I wish things had gone a slightly different way.
There are several scenes I liked reading about, especially how other dragons saw Lanen as more than just her human being, she was special in her own way.
Several details were put too conveniently in the story and I think less intent on winning over the bad guys and more attention to the romance itself would be preferable but... with the 90s in context, I guess this is alright.
I'm thinking about if I want to read the next books. On one hand I would like to know what happens to Lanen and Akhor but then again, the likely amount of drama and bad guys' actions to go trough until the good stuff (in my POV) finally is achieved... decisions, decisions.