Thursday, April 9, 2015

YA FANTASY: In the time of Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carey



On the southernmost tip of Wilde Island--far from the Dragonswood sanctuary and the Pendragon Castle--live the native Euit people. Uma, who is half Euit and half English, and not fully accepted by her tribe, wants to become a healer like her Euit father. But the mad English queen in the north, desperate for another child, kidnaps Uma and her father and demands that he cure her barrenness. After her father dies, Uma must ensure that the queen is with child by the time of the Dragon Moon, or be burned at the stake.

Terrified and alone, Uma reaches out to her only possible ally: the king's nephew Jackrun, a fiery dragonrider with dragon, fairy, and human blood. Together, they must navigate through a sea of untold secrets, unveil a dark plot spawned long ago in Dragonswood, and find a way to accept all the elements--Euit, English, dragon, and fairy--that make them who they are.


Janet Lee Carey is the award-winning author of nine Children's and YA novels. Her YA fantasy is critically acclaimed: "Verdict: This is quite simply fantasy at its best–original, beautiful, amazing, and deeply moving.” School Library Journal starred review. Janet links each new book with a charitable organization empowering readers to make a difference in the world. She tours in US and abroad presenting at schools, children’s book festivals, and conferences.


Uma wants more than anything to be an Adan (healer) like her father.  But her half-English, half-Euit ancestry and the fact that she is female stand as major obstacles to her dream.  After she and her father are abducted and taken to the Pendragon castle to help the queen conceive a child, everything changes.  Soon, Uma is on her own desperately trying to find a way to survive and free her people from captivity.  When she meets Jackrun, the king's nephew, she finds someone she can trust and perhaps even love, if she allows herself to be a woman rather than just a healer.  But when the king's son is murdered she struggles to define herself and find a way to save herself from the plots that swirl around her.

I haven't read the first two books in this series and I think it would have helped if I had, but the author does a good job of introducing enough of the culture and beliefs that I wasn't too lost.  I just had a feeling that knowing what had happened before would have made the story that much easier to follow.  I did enjoy the book though, for such a long book, the plot moves quickly as Uma faces various challenges and crises.  I think the parts I enjoyed the most though were her interactions with Jackrun.  Jackrun is my favorite kind of hero, a courageous and kind person who struggles with his own identity as the Son of the Prophecy, including a unique talent that he's very self-conscious about.  Jackrun and Uma connect I think because they both are still figuring out who they are and what they really want.  That theme unlies the whole story but is overshadowed by the political intrigue and betrayal.  An enjoyable read for YA fantasy lovers everywhere.

Note: this is definitely a YA fantasy because it includes an attempted rape, a bit of language, and sexual references (not graphic) as well as some violence (torture, hanging, burning, etc.)


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