I was quickly captivated by the world and the characters of Chiril. This was my first experience with the writings of Donita K. Paul. I've been curious about her writing for a while since I first noticed her Dragon Keepers books at the store. I wasn't sure at the time that I wanted to get invested in a new series by an author I've never read. So I jumped at the chance to read and review The Dragons of Chiril, which is a prequel to her Dragon Keepers series and requires no prior knowledge of her previous novels. It was a thoroughly entertaining & rewarding read. I am now convinced to dive a little deeper into Paul's world and try out her other books.
In The Dragons of Chiril, the main character is Tipper, a young woman who is forced to take over the responsibilities as head of her family because of her father's mysterious disappearance and her mother's subsequent disconnect from reality. To make ends meet, she sells many valued family possessions, including some artwork made by her father, a well-known artist. Then her father returns, just as mysteriously as he disappeared, with some strangers from far away, looking for three particular sculptures. Tipper had unfortunately already sold them and didn't know their whereabouts. She quickly learns that her father's life & even the existence of the whole world are imminently dependent on finding & reuniting these special sculptures. So they assemble a rag-tag group of trekkers and set out to track down and reacquire the sculptures before it's too late.
The best things about The Dragons of Chiril, in my opinion, are the characters. They are unusual, endearing, & even amusing. And the dragons, which are characters too, are downright charming. The story, though not action packed, is quite compelling and enjoyable. It seems to unfold naturally. It was very enjoyable. In fact, it made me smile, sometimes even when I wasn't reading it.
There are a few downsides, however. I was occasionally confused by some details, mostly pertaining to the setting and people in general. While it is not necessary to have read Donita K. Paul's other books, I think there are certain details that would have been less confusing if I'd had some prior knowledge. When I came to the end of the book, I discovered a glossary that somewhat explained some of the things I had been wondering about. I wish I had known about it when I started, though.
The other, and more important quibble I had with the book was the ending, not the way the story ended, but the way the ending was written. It seemed rushed and confused, perhaps a bit chaotic at times, and then was suddenly tied up at the end. I would have liked it better if the climax had been drawn out a bit more. This was not enough to make me disappointed overall with the book. The book was truly great up until that point, and I can't help but wonder if my impression has anything to do with my frame of mind at the time of reading the ending. I can still say that The Dragons of Chiril was well worth my time, and I would recommend it to others.
In exchange for sharing my thoughts about it, I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program.