The road to this review began in 2017 when the author, Gabrielle Byrne, was my mentor in PITCH WARS. Her mentoring advice not only helped make my entry shine, but her advice and words of encouragement have stayed with me in writing other manuscripts.
At that time she was also working on her own story, RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON. I told her I’d love to do a review when it came out. And then last summer, there it was along with an interview on LITERARY RAMBLES. I commented with 42 other people for a chance to win a copy. My name was chosen in the random giveaway.
Our connection complete.
My only thought was, “Uh-oh, I hope I like her story.” Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Here’s the publisher synopsis:
Princess Toli may be heir to the throne, but she longs to be a fierce hunter and warrior. Alone in a frozen world, her queendom is at the mercy of the dragons that killed her father, and Toli is certain it’s only a matter of time before they come back to destroy what’s left of her family.
When the dragons rise and seize her mother, Toli will do anything to save her―even trust a young dragon who may be the only key to the Queen’s release.
With her sister and best friend at her side, Toli makes the treacherous journey across the vast ice barrens to Dragon Mountain, where long-held secrets await. Bear-cats are on their trail, and dragons stalk them, but the greatest danger might be a mystery buried in Toli’s past.
MY THOUGHTS: The mystical land of Gall unfolds with it’s eerily beautiful skies and its people living mostly in fear of the dragons. The world building shines and the character arcs take flight with the likes of Toli, next in line to be queen; her best friend Wix; and spunky little sister, Petal. The Queendom of Gall is a harsh, worrisome place. The residents are seemingly the only humans left in the world.
Toli’s relationship with Wix and Petal are a shining example of making other characters just as important as the MC. Wix and his youthful wish to become a strong hunter and Petal wanting her sister to trust her more and not treat her like a child were wonderful ties that stayed throughout the story. The dragon personalities were fierce but a few had a sympathetic eye toward the bone bags, a term they use to describe humans.
The set-up for the trip to hopefully save her mother takes up the first half of the book. Every part is necessary as Toli finds a baby dragon, abandoned and alone. There’s also much to do as the trip is treacherous and she knows to trust no one—not even Spar, her mentor. The terrors that await on the trail provide page turning surprises, sure to please fantasy loving readers.
There’s no mention of a sequel, but the closing scene begs to have one.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT
RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON by Gabrielle K. Byrne
- Dragon lovers have another source to feed their passion and they’re in for a surprise. The dragons here are unique and unlike any I’ve ever come across in the many books I’ve read with dragon characters. They do more than just fly. Their personalities and interactions are equally intense to their human counterparts.
- The relationship Toli has with her younger sister Petal. It’s real and fraught with emotional intensity. Those with siblings will be nodding at the familiarity in their own lives—minus the dragons of course!
- Strong female characters. Toli has the courage to take on heroic tasks and little princess Petal is like a firecracker, never afraid to offer her opinion.
- Quick moving, especially during the mountain trek. Scary creatures and death lurking around every turn had me hanging on for the ride.
- As I closed the final page, one last thought popped into my head: This would make a great movie!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
GABRIELLE KIROUAC BYRNE lives in the rainy wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where she writes fantasy for kids of all ages. Gabby studied opera in Philadelphia, medieval studies in New York, literature in Scotland, and marine biology in the Pacific Northwest, but stories are the common thread that tie all her interests together.
(For more visit Gabrielle’s author web page)
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