Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blood Maiden by Christine Schulte

Zale. Gauthier. Varden. These three dynasties... They all sound like something out of an ancient, oriental myth or fairy tale. The concept of humans and dragons helping and living in harmony with one another, without fear. To me, that's exactly what they are. A distant dream only read of, whispered secretly, quietly yearned for. For, you see, I am the new Quelda of Tynan. These words echo the mystery, horror, and romance found within Schulze's fantasy novel.

Along with her new husband, Chalom, Crislin must choose to embrace cruel tradition, run from it, or stand against it. The young couple's only hope is to rally the help of the three peaceful dragon dynasties of Sulaimon-but tradition is not on their side, even outside the realm of Tynan.

The dragons outside Tynan's borders have been rumored as too stubborn and proud to believe their Tynanian brothers would commit such horrors as inflicted upon the Quelda. Gaining their aid is not a likely hope. Yet, any hope at all is valued in Tynan... If they are to stand a chance of bringing cruel tradition to a permanent end, Crisilin and Chalom must brave the constant, consuming blizzards of the Ever-white.

They must brave the three dynasties and the challenges awaiting there. Together, they must convince the dragon emperors to allow them access to the shrines which house the sacred Aria - protective strands of music which may be able to disperse the evil from Tynan and unite the four dynasties of Sulaimon as a whole once again. Their only aid stems from a sprite whose moods are as unstable as her magic, a young minstrel, and a mysterious fox. Despite the odds, such plans are daring, dangerous, unprecedented, but fully possible - if they can escape the Wall first.

My Take: Like a good and well seasoned writer, the author begins with a suspenseful yet informative first chapter.  She sets the stage without telling the reader everything.  The next few chapters consist of revelations, carefully crafted, of Crisilin and her fate. Four dynasties protected/ruled by dragons.  Each dynasty has a symbiotic relationship.  The dragons protect the humans, the humans provide a yearly tax, consisting of whatever the dragons dictate.  Three lands have peaceful interactions consisting of homage paid to the dragons based on the industries.  One land, Crisilin's kingdom, happens to pay the dragons in a rather disturbing manner.

Told first person, the new Qelda of Tynan (Crisilin), reveals the fate of herself and her new husband.  Although somewhat of a spoiler, I'm going to go ahead and tell you that the protagonist and her husband begin a quest to prevent any more of these horrific shows of force by the dragons.  They escape, meet new creatures/people, endear the reader to each of them, and travel to some incredibly well developed places.  The author provides enough description to paint a mental picture without overburdening the reader with more than is necessary.  She also provides descriptions of the different kingdoms with detail many would not think to include.

This is a talented writer with a vivid imagination.  With that imagination, Christine uses her gift of writing to provide a different reality much like book, "Eldest."  Chances are good that when she secures a good literary agent and editor, and publicist, Christine Schulze will be well known in the 8-14 age crowd.

1 comment:

CountessLaurie said...

Oooh, I am going to love this one! Thanks for the review!