Today I want to cover the Writing Factor of Dragons of the Valley. In the Writing Factor, I take a look at how well the writer built their world, conveyed their plot, and how engaging was the story. But before I begin, I need to point out something: I was under the impression that this book was for young adults. A kind friend showed me that this book is actually advertised for all ages. My goof 🙂
Dragons of the Valley is set in a fantasy world filled with rich history and races. Donita has done a wonderful job of creating all these different races (fourteen total!) each with their own particular uniqueness. The Kimens (imagine light pixies) are small, wear light for clothing and love to be merry. The Tumanhofers enjoy nice clothing (they kind of remind me of hobbits). But I think my favorite race is the Emerlindians. They are described as tall and slender (like elves in my opinion). But what made this race fascinating to me is they are born pale (hair, eyes, skin), but as they age, they darken (darker eyes, darker hair, darker skin). I thought that was cool!
A+ on world building!
Plot: Donita keeps it light and simple. Yes, there is a war going on, but she does not go into the more violent details (remember, she writes for all ages). Her characters go on a quest, which keeps the plot moving. The humor is great and keeps the story light. Here is one of my favorite quotes: “I do wish one’s figure did not reflect the love of good food. It’s so annoying to butter your bread and find rolls around your middle.” (Lady Peg Schope, pg. 236-237). Yes Lady Peg, I absolutely agree!
The only thing I found annoying is there were so many races and characters that I could not keep them all straight at first. I absolutely hate having to go to the back of the book and look at the appendix. It takes me out of the story. But after a couple chapters, I was able to remember what a Tumanhofer was or what a Bisonbeck was and no longer needed the appendix. But that’s just me personally 🙂
Tomorrow I will take a look at the Spiritual Factor of Dragons of the Valley.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
6 thoughts on “CSFF Blog Tour- Dragons of the Valley, Day 2”
Until I read Dave Wilson’s post yesterday, I honestly forgot how reading this book would be to someone not thoroughly familiar with the world Donita has created over seven books (five in the DragonKeeper series, and now two in the Chiril Chronicles). Because I’ve read them all, I didn’t once turn to the back for help.
Yes, I glanced at the appendix, but that was authorial curiosity. I wanted to see how she set it up. (I’m not a fan of sectioning it off, with places in one grouping, characters in another, and so on. If I have to stop the story, I don’t want the annoyance of first finding the right section, then finding the right word. In one book like that — not Dragons — I found the word I was looking for only to get no help from the definition beyond what I’d already picked up from the context. Now that was irksome!)
I love that Lady Peg quote too. In fact, I think Donita has created a number of quotable lines. I love that.
How Naivete can lead to complications. When I wrote the first book, DragonSpell, I knew there would be several races and not elves, dwarves, fairies, hobgoblins, etc. So I thought about God’s favorite numbers: 3, 7, and 12. Well three was too few and 12 was too many, so I chose seven. As I wrote, I realized Pretender had tried to match each of the high races and came out with horrible mutations. So there had to be 7 low races. I am not good at math. My checkbook has fantasy numbers in it, thus I now have a bookkeeper. But even I knew that 7 + 7 = 14. Maybe I should have gone with the 12. I plowed ahead, not realizing how complicated a world can be with seven high races and seven low races and in Dragons of the Valley, The Grawl showed up and then the schoergats. In my next series, which is bubbling on the slow burner, there are dragons and people. PERIOD!
I agree about the world-building. In my opinion, characters and world-building are Donita’s strengths. And Lady Peg was one of my favorites!
Hey Donita! Thanks for visiting my blog. Yeah, naivete definitely leads to complications (the story of my life lol). Oh well 🙂 I’m so glad I was able to be a part of this tour and reacquaint myself with your work. I think I’m also starting to view books differently now that I have a son old enough to read some of this stuff with me. Makes me read through his eyes. We decided to get the first book so he can familiarize himself with the races and characters before he reads this one.
I agree Sarah, Lady Peg was my favorite. I actually underlined some of her quotes. I could never write like that… I love wit but seem unable to write it.