Thursday, May 5, 2011

REDHEART by Jackie Gamber: Review


Kallon Redheart lives with his back turned on his fellow dragons, on humans, and on everything he once understood. Riza Diantus is a young woman with dreams too wide to fit inside her village fence. Their unexpected friendship is risky in Leland Province, where drought has stripped the land and superstition has cowed its people. And the danger only grows. Fordon Blackclaw, Dragon Council Leader, resents Leland's time-worn venur system. He has inflamed tensions between dragons and humans to the brink of war. He wants to trample humans into utter submission, or wipe them off the face of the land. Anger erupts, scorching innocent lives in its path. When Riza is threatened, Kallon is the only one with the power to save her. But first, he must confront his past and the future he stopped believing in. He must claim his destiny.

My Review:

I can honestly say that I tried to like this book, and I could have liked it had it not been for the over the top, makes absolutely no sense, craziness that started happening at the end of the novel. I understand that with fantasy you have to suspend your disbelief and let your imagination run wild. I've read all of George R.R. Martin's SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books, twice, so I'm not a fantasy hater. I just think this book was written for an audience that is much younger than I am. 

Ok, so what I did like about the book. Jackie Gamber is an AMAZING writer. As I read this novel I found a million amazing examples of figurative language. Examples like, "Wispy mist hung like ghost entrails over stones" and, "Evening torches still blared from their wall sconces in two leering smiles of jagged flickering teeth," show how talented she is as a writer. I actually was thinking about using some of the paragraphs in this novel in my lesson plans for my eighth graders when we go over similes, metaphors, personification, allusions, etc. Her use of imagery was absolutely amazing also. She described scenery so intricately, you felt like you were there. I also thought it was cool how she made so many comparisons and allusions to the problems between the white settlers and the Native Americans to the problems between the humans and the dragons. Like the Native Americans, the dragons were driven from their lands, killed off for no reason, certain "tribes" of dragons disappeared completely, and there also was an ongoing war between the humans and the dragons. I also actually liked Jastin as a character. He was actually the only one who I DID like in the novel, besides Orman. I felt like he was really misunderstood, and that Riza was pretty much a crazy woman.

Now, the things I did NOT like about this novel. I had a lot of trouble connecting with either Riza or Kallon. Like I said, I connected with Jastin, and felt for him more than any of the other characters. Riza annoyed the crap out of me! She always seems to be sticking her nose where it doesn't belong, and causing more problems than anything else. I did not find her endearing or cute at all. Another problem I had was the whole Jastin, Riza, Kallon love triangle going on. I mean, Kallon is a freaking dragon, so it was kind of creepy when it began to become apparent that there was some type of intimate connection going on between Kallon and Riza. Also, a random negative about the e-book is that Chapter 23 was repeated. I went on to read chapter 24, and I thought it looked familiar, then I realized the same chapter had been duplicated. I don't know if the real Chapter 24 was deleted from the book completely, or if it was just pushed back to Chapter 25?

Even with those issues I was still OK with the book, and still semi-interested in how it was going to end, and what was going to happen to the main characters, that is until the last couple of chapters. All of a sudden everything went haywire, and I had no clue what was going on. Things were happening that had no background in the novel. All of a sudden the Gold Dragon was like God. He was able to show Kallon the way to save Riza, after she had given her life in order to save his, by diving into the earth and finding some type of crystal. The Gold dragon was mentioned probably two times the entire novel, and then in the last couple of chapters he is the main event. It was like several new "mini plots" were introduced in the last 10 chapters of the book, and I had no clue where they had come from!

Then, the weirdness or ALL weirdnesses happens. Kallon saves Riza (basically brings her back to life) with the magic that he finds when he breaks the earth open; and somehow through their (Riza and Kallon) wishes they had in their hearts as well as their creepy love for each other, she wakes up/comes back to life as a Red Dragon like Kallon. She's a sexy Red dragon at that, gotta love it. I started skipping/speed reading to get it over with at this point, because it was creeping me out with all the dragon love, and also nothing was making sense anymore. Then, one final attack of creepiness happens, when Riza (now a sexy Red Dragon) runs into Kallons ex a little bit away from the dragon town. His ex is spewing hatred at Riza out of jealousy, and she's ALSO giving birth to a dragon egg, pretty much in the middle of nowhere! How crazy is that!?

In conclusion, I would not recommend this novel if you are older than 15, unless you are a die hard fantasy reader, and dragons are your favorite thing to read about. I kind of liked the book up until the last few chapters, and then it lost me. I'm not taking anything away from the author though, because her writing skills and style are some of the best I have come across in awhile. It probably just wasn't my type of book. I'm obviously not going to say it was awful, because I honestly don't think that dragons that act like humans are my thing.

I would give her writing style a 5 out of 5, but unfortunately, my personal opinion on the novel is around a 2 out of 5. Obviously it's a personal preference, because I read several reviews about the book that went on about how much they enjoyed it, and can't wait until the next one comes out. Would I read another novel by her, sure, as long as there weren't any talking dragons.

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