Category: Dragon Fiction

+Book Review+ Sela by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 2 of the Leland Dragon series} A dragon series etched on my heart.

Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Published By: Seventh Star Press, 27 March, 2012
Official Author Websites: Twitter Site
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry
@ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio

Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 308

Genre(s): Fiction | Young Adult Fantasy |

| Dragon Fiction | High Fantasy |

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

 Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: Whilst signing up to participate in the much-anticipated blog tour for “Reclamation” the third book in the Leland Dragon series, through Tomorrow Comes Media;  I requested receiving “Sela” in order to read the series in sequence.  I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press, without obligation to post a review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read: Ever since I left the world of Redheart, I have ached to return to the Leland Province and resume the story where I had left off at the conclusion of the first installment of a trilogy still in the making. It’s the type of story whose world-building scope pulls you into its heart and allows time to dissolve behind you and away from you. You long to know more about the characters, both good and bad you’ve become acquainted with due to the journey you’ve taken with them throughout Redheart‘s debut! I knew it would be possible to read Reclamation without Sela, but a part of me felt it was crucial not to break the continuity of this particular dragon fiction series as it might in effect change my perception and interaction with the characters within the bookend conclusion! I am thankful that I was given a chance to resume through Sela before arriving at the series finale and conclusion!

I had hoped to re-read Redheart, prior to reading both Sela & Reclamation, however, a severe cold and pollen allergy compounded my misery to where I could not pick up any books nor read even one chapter of these dear books until the very week I had re-scheduled my review for the Reclamation Tour! Therefore, in order to help my mind and heart re-adjust back into the rhythm Gamber created, I backtracked to Chapter Forty-Nine in Redheart before proceeding!

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

As an award winning author, Jackie writes stories ranging from ultra-short to novel-length, varieties of which have appeared in anthologies such as Tales of Fantasy and Dragons Composed, as well as numerous periodical publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Binnacle, Mindflights Magazine, Necrotic Tissue, and Shroud. She is the author of the fantasy novel Redheart and Sela, and writing an alternate history time travel novel. She blogs professionally for English Tea Store.com, where she reviews classic science fiction and fantasy novels and pairs them with the ideal tea-sipping companion.

Jackie is a member of the professional organizations Science Fiction Writers of America and Horror Writers Association. She was named honorable mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award, and received a 2008 Darrell Award for best short story by a Mid-South author. She is the winner of the 2009 Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award for Imaginative Fiction for her story The Freak Museum, a post-apocalyptic tale that looks closely at perceptions and outward appearances and how they affect the way we see ourselves. Jackie Gamber was co-founder and Executive Editor of Meadowhawk Press, a speculative fiction publisher based in Memphis. One of their novels, Terminal Mind by David Walton, won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Award in 2009. Jackie also edited the award-winning benefit anthology, Touched By Wonder. She has been a guest lecturer at Memphis Options High Schools, and is a speaker at writers’ conferences from Michigan to Florida. Jackie is also the visionary behind the MidSouthCon Writers’ Conference, helping writers connect since 2008.

Book Synopsis:

Peace was fleeting. Vorham Riddess, Venur of Esra Province, covets the crystal ore buried deep in Leland’s mountains. His latest device to obtain it: land by marriage to a Leland maiden. But that’s not all.

Among Dragonkind, old threats haunt Mount Gore, and shadows loom in the thoughts of the Red who restored life to land and love. A dragon hunter, scarred from countless battles, discovers he can yet suffer more wounds.

In the midst of it all, Sela Redheart is lost, driven from her home with only her old uncle to watch over her. As the dragon-born child of Kallon, the leader of Leland’s Dragon Council, she is trapped in human form with no understanding of how she transformed, or how to turn back.

Wanderers seek a home, schemes begin to unfurl, and all is at risk as magic and murder, marriage and mystery strangle the heart of Esra. A struggle for power far older and deeper than anyone realizes will leave no human or dragon unaffected.

In a world where magic is born of feeling, where the love between a girl and a dragon was once transformative, what power dwells in the heart of young Sela?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Sela: Dragon or Human?
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela being lifted by her father Kallon Redheart; whilst Drell hides below in the forest hidden from view
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

I must confess the cover-art for Sela did originally have me questioning the merits of Riza and Kallon’s daughter being either dragon OR human as the image eludes to a possible paradox between the two versions. As I entered this chapter of the Leland Dragons series, I was happily confronted with a character that had me twitching with excitement, as Sela is as much as a spitfire as her mother as she is a determined spirit like her father! She is the perfect blend of her parents passions and abilities. Seeing Orman Thistleby step in as her guardian Uncle was a pure delight as well! Sela’s struggle for understanding her identity and the manner in which her body changed brought me back to her mother’s journey, where nothing was quite as it seemed but everything was aligning in the way it was meant to be. The hardest struggles in anyone’s life is the acceptance of the circumstances that we cannot readily understand or see how those moments can help define who we are meant to become.

Each time I read a passage where Sela was attempting to sort out her ‘humanness’ reminded me fondly of other fantastical stories where a character wanted either to be more human or less, depending on their point of view of human behaviour and action. Seeing her sketched out as an artist felt fitting because it would make sense that the daughter Redheart would see the world through artistic eyes. She would be given the gift of seeing the beauty in everything rather than being caught in the fear of living in the moment of uncertainty.

My Review of Sela:
Reclamation | Book 3 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Sela flees the raging storm of the Rage Desert; having been brought there to perish for a crime she didn’t commit
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Time has passed a bit quicker than I had hoped in the Leland Province, as Sela the daughter of Kallon & Riza Redheart is already well on her way to being an independent and spirited young lady. Her struggles with understanding the human side of her ancestry is fitting, as part of what endeared me to Redheart was the ability of seeing Gamber’s empathy for exploring the inner crisis of who we are verse our perception of who we are. The undercurrents of which I enjoyed in the first part of this trilogy because it gave a layer of depth to both Kallon and Riza. In the opening chapters, we are not only entranced with young Sela’s plight as a human, but are on the fringes of understanding the full scope of young Brownwing’s daughter’s son (Drell), who in this installment has been cast to the Desert Dragons rather than having taken residence amongst his peers in the Leland mountains.

I appreciate the slow etching of the story to fill in the density of hours as I drink in the gaps between my last visit and now. So much has changed for the dragons and the humans, but a lot has remained the same. There is still a definitive disconnect between the two species, as much as there is an insurrection for containment and control of power. The words which are infused to bring us back into the natural raw beauty of the Leland mountains made me hungry for walking amongst my own natural environs. The longer one takes away from the bond they share with the natural world, the more one’s spirit needs rejuvenation! In this way, I could understand fully the aching Sela felt each time she was pulled quite forcibly to exit the mountains of her home.

Gladdis is first introduced whilst Sela is escorted to the castle for the sorting for the Venur’s marriage ceremony. I like her spunky personality as she rolls with the punches life hands her. Gladdis is the type of instantaneous friend you hope to find whilst caught up in a sea of intrigue! She is the perfect companion for Sela, due to the fact she too has a rebel streak inside her and doesn’t yet know of her true destiny. The fact she hails from the same village as Sela’s mother is kismet. Her inability to understand the plight of dragons and their fight for freedom from being hunted tests the merits of how strong their friendship can truly bond.

Jastin Armitage makes his appearance in this story as a begruffled and aging dragon hunter, jaded beyond repair with a chip on his shoulder whilst caught up in his brother-in-law’s schemes. The fact his heart can still be stirred by memories of Riza is quite encouraging because by all other accounts it would appear he has preferred to be a hermit and recluse, keeping away from society and icing over his heart. His character was the most intriguing to me because he was always torn between conventional standards and the will of his own soul.

Sela | Book 2 Leland Dragons by Jackie Gamber
Orman Thistleby seeking an advantage of truth within the crystal as he makes his way to Riddess Castle
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Destiny isn’t always an easy thing to reconcile. Following your heart and listening to both reason and instinctive murmurings inside your own soul is tempered by the lives of others who are drawn onto your path. What once would appear quite clear to pursue as far as yielding to your own desires, might grow complicated once others are entreated alongside you. Such is the case with Sela, finding her world wrapped around the delicacies of insurrection by proxy default of a man bent on revenge intermixed with greed. The Venur’s only motivation towards marrying a Leland woman is to reclaim the territory of both Esra and Leland Province to fill his own selfish desire for ultimate power and wealth. Yet she is drawn into his sinister plan by the misguided magical interference of a wizard who loses her confidence as soon as Orman Thistleby is within a whisper of a breath from her. Layce is the kind of wizard you feel pity for rather than spite.

Adversaries of the past have a funny way of coming back into your life when you’d rather continue to move forward and away from past transgressions. Blackclaw was one of the most vile and villainous characters I have come across in recent years, and aptly plays the part of a coal-hearted dragon whose scales of pitch black match his inside conscience. Blackclaw is a stealthy calculating adversary of whom Kallon Redheart had every right to fear.  The joy of reading the Leland Dragons series is being a step ahead and behind where the center heart of the story is leading you. Just as you’ve thought you’ve sorted out how everything will start to unfold and ebb back into its natural rhythm you’re thrown for an unexpected revelation you didn’t quite see coming, yet felt somehow could be plausible. When Sela first met Bannon, I felt a hitching inside of me. I could not quite put my finger on what made myself twitch with anticipation but as the chapters shifted forward a beautiful surprise was awaiting me! Drell’s own history and place in Dragonkind kept me glued to the page, as I wanted to see exactly how he differed from his father by the influence of his mother.

In order to examine the heart of your adversary you  have to first question the motives of your own. For Jastin Armitage his inner demons overshadowed the truth he was unwilling to see until it was nearly too late to forgive. Blindness through ignorance is one of the greatest strife’s of all, because it is only through willingness to see what we have blocked out of view of our inner spirit that can give us the freedom from what binds us. True redemption can only be achieved through the purity of one’s remorse.

The best stories are the ones in which the writer endeavours us to draw pensive at the conclusion of the story, and allow the embers of the text re-ignite inside our minds. Turnt over and over until the light of their hidden truths and etchings of character frailties wash over us with a renewed sense of understanding. I love the depth of the Leland Dragon series for it gives such a hearty rendering of the choices we make, not only as citizens of a country or province, but the choices our leaders make which have a direct effect on those who live in their kingdoms. This is a universal story which is not tethered nor limited to dragons. The only limitations are those of the reader who might not want to see what is left behind in the annuls of the dragon’s histories presented in the trilogy.

A compliment on continuity:

Gamber does a wonderful job at fusing together the continuity of the story from the ending chapters of Redheart to the beginnings of Sela! Whilst reading about how the library of the dragon scrolls came into being through the graceful design of Riza, gave me the impression that everything that had been left unresolved in the first book, would re-emerge and transform before my eyes in the second! I love when writers give such a hearty second installment as though we had never actually left the world in which the story resides! We simply pick up where we left off, re-attach ourselves into the fabric of the timescape, and slowly hope for the best resolutions for the characters who are already beloved, as much as the newer characters we are just forming an acquaintance!

I love the architecture of the settings as well, as Gamber uses old techniques of aged wood and carvings to paint the setting in which everything takes place with an ancient feeling of familiarity. Even in Esra Province whilst trapped inside the Venur’s castle compound, there is a rich history lit aflame inside the cavernous walls and passageways. I loved the insertion of both hidden from view entryways and the sunken from sight secret passages. It was always a dream of mine to have a bevy of secret passages inside of a home, so this always plays into the dream of my own yearnings!

And, the way in whichGamber chooses to have the forest and smells of the woods resonate on the tips of your nose, makes you want to abandon the book for a short spell whilst digging your toes into the earth right outside your own window!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Previously, Jorie reviewed “Redheart” (Book 1 of Leland Dragons) and
interviewed Ms. Gamber soon thereafter. Before featuring a Character Post from Reclamation’s tour, and a second interview with Ms. Gamber specifically geared towards the Leland Dragons series.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting:
Seventh Star Presson my Bookish Events page!

Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Sela” and illustrations by Matthew Perry, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gamber, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission.  Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 7 March, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Dragon Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, High Fantasy, Seventh Star Press, Supernatural Fiction, YA Fantasy

+Character Post+ [from] the Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber

Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Character Post from the Leland Dragon series:

Leland Dragon series by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

{a special stop on the “Reclamation” blog tour!}

{ converse via: #LelandDragons & #7thStar }

Book Synopsis of ‘Reclamation’:

The exciting conclusion of the Leland Dragon Series!

Leland Province remains in danger. The sinister Fordon Blackclaw has returned from the shadows to strike at the heart of neighboring Esra, killing its Venur and making clear his intentions to retake what was once his: Mount Gore, seat of the Leland Dragon Council.

All around, the land grows weaker and weaker. Leland, once thought saved by Kallon Redheart, is without purpose, and within its borders, Murk Forest, a place of mystery and danger, has driven its inhabitants to seek aid. Esra is in flames, and the Rage Desert grows. Dragon and human alike struggle to find their way, and the wizard Orman can sense that there may be more at stake than the affairs of dragons.

Hope remains, yet it is not without obstacles. In Esra, Sela, the daughter of Kallon and Riza, found the well, a source of life, and made herself whole again. But her homecoming is not what she had imagined.

Old wounds buried deep must reopen if life is to continue. Dragons, humans, wizards, and shape shifters are all at risk as the peace between dragon and human has finally been broken.

War is here.

The stakes?

Perhaps the whole world.

 

I am thrilled to peaches to welcome, Ms. Gamber back to Jorie Loves A Story! She will be sharing a special piece for this stop on the blog tour, which features a portion of a character’s journal from the Leland Dragon series! I am always seeking out ways to bring extra content to my dedicated readers and visitors, whilst participating on blog book tours! In this way, I felt having a guest post from the perspective of a character might be quite enjoyable for all who stop by! If you dropped by during my Seventh Star Press Focus Week &/or whilst I reviewed ‘Redheart‘ previously, you are familiar with my passion for this particular fantasy series steeped in lore and built strongly in a world whose heart endears you to return! I hope this glimpse at Ms. Gamber’s writing will prompt you to read the series that has enchanted me for all these moons since I last visited within the realm of ‘Redheart’!!

{ Character Blog: Gladdis by Jackie Gamber }

Dear Journal:

I considered trying to write this journal entry the way Drell has been teaching me to write in his dragon language, but I don’t know enough words yet to be able to say a whole sentence, let alone spell them all correctly. It’s enough of a challenge just to speak it.

Dragonspeak is full of throat growls and front-of-the-mouth consonants that feel like a waterfall through my teeth, and I wish I was better at it because it’s already so close to singing that I want to add melodies and see what happens then. I heard Drell sing once, or rather hum under his breath. When he noticed me looking at him, though, he stopped and pretended it never happened.

I think there is much more to Drell than he lets on.

Drell is very patient with me, which is a good thing. A kind thing. Because Sela is so very busy with all her dragon council business I hardly see her, and without someone to talk to, I would feel swallowed up by this mountain. By the dragons.

Drell helped me root out some dandelions for Orman this morning. At first, I thought Orman was needing them for potions, or magical ingredients of some sort. But Drell thinks the wizard is just trying to make wine.

I think there is more to Orman Thistleby than he lets on, too, but I don’t dare ask. The man can whither a grape to a raisin with one glare of those gray eyes. I’m always trapped between wanting to get his attention, and hoping he’ll never notice me. He keeps talking about how old he is, how tired and frail he is, but I’ve never seen a star burn so bright. Right inside those gray eyes of his.

I held a stone in my palm last night. One of the little nubs Orman is trying to drench in magic. He’s been stripped of all his crystals and things; we all lost everything when we fled Esra to come to Leland. Orman feels the loss more than the rest of us, I think. He thinks he’s powerless without his stones, but I don’t believe he is. Not really. Because when I held the pebble of amber glass (it had fallen from his desk, I was putting it back), I felt it alive. It pulsed through my hand, into my wrist.

He must be doing something right, to make that stone respond to my touch the way it did. As though it knew I was there, in the room, keeping it company. When I laid it back on Orman’s desk, it stopped shivering, and went to sleep.

I almost spoke, to reassure it I would be back, before I realized what I was doing. Strange though. I could swear that crystal already knew what I was about to say.

One of these days, I would like to ask Orman about it. If I can just face those eyes. Maybe today, since Layce has asked me to ask him if he will meet her under the giant fir.

More tomorrow.

Gladdis

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com{ About the Author }

Jackie Gamber is the award-winning author of many short stories, screenplays, and novels, including “Redheart”, “Sela”, and “Reclamation”, Books one through three of the Leland Dragon Series. For more information about Jackie and her mosaic mind, visit http://www.jackiegamber.com

And meet Jackie elsewhere on the world-wide web at:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

If this doesn’t prompt one to soak into the Leland Dragon series, I am not sure what would! Laughs. I think when you find yourself over the moon in joy in reading a series, you want to read each new installment as quick as lightning, or at least, this is the place I have reached with Leland Dragons! I am ever so very thankful to Ms. Gamber for creating and sharing this little treasure of a glimpse into Reclamation! I will be posting a review of Reclamation on Friday, 28th of February, so please be sure to drop back to read my observations and thoughts therein! I am delighted beyond joy itself for being able to participate on this blog tour because this is one series that I feel so very strongly attached too! Its one of those series that you discover during your ordinary hours of reading, and become struck by the awe of the world which illuminates into view! You get excited at each turnt of a page and your heart leaps a bit in anxiety to see what is going to occur next! This is what I live for whilst reading one story after another! To discover the stories that never quite leave you, and leave a small impression inside your memory!

Virtual Road Map for “Reclamation” Blog Tour:
Be sure to catch the next installments of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie reviews “Reclamation” & interviews Ms. Gamber within the week!

Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
Tomorrow Comes Media Tour Hoston my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “triptych of Leland Dragon series” by Matthew Perry and the tour host badge were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Jorie submitted a request to host a Character Post as part of the tour and received this special post in response by Ms. Gamber through Stephen Zimmer; for which she is grateful!}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Tuesday, 25 February, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Character (Guest) Post by Author, Dragon Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore and Mythology, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Supernatural Fiction, Tomorrow Comes Media, YA Fantasy

*Review*: Redheart by Jackie Gamber {Book No. 1 of the Leland Dragon series} The novel which endeared me to Leland Province forevermore!

Posted Wednesday, 30 October, 2013 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Redheart by Jackie Gamber

[Book One: Leland Dragon series]

Redheart by Jackie Gamber
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

[Book Two: Sela]

Published By: Seventh Star Press, April 2011, second edition
Originally Published by: Meadowhawk Press, 2008, first edition [closed]
Official Author Websites: Gamber on Twitter; Personal Site;
Author Page: @ Seventh Star Press
Leland Dragons Official Website
Artist Page: Matthew Perry @ Seventh Star Press; Portfolio
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 275

{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

Acquired Book By: I am a regular blog book tour hostess for Tomorrow Comes Media, whereupon in conversation with Stephen Zimmer about my appreciation for epic fantasy, I was offered to receive a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press.The book released in April 2011. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read: When I first decided to become a (blog) book tour hostess with Tomorrow Comes Media, I am not sure if I ever expected to have such a wicked sweet journey unfold in front of me! Inasfar to say, the authors who I am coming in contact with are writers who create lush, living, and dynamically engrossing worlds that make you think about the content that your reading as much as to jettison your wings off into new directions of literary exploration! I am not sure if I ever mentioned to my friends’ how much I have always kept a keen interest in ‘dragons’, as mind you, I was one of the eager movie goers who could not wait for the release of “How to Train Your Dragon”!! Whilst I was growing up my two favourite dragons were in the motion pictures: “Pete’s Dragon” and “The Neverending Story”, of which I saw in such repetition I could nearly recite the dialogue and describe the scene sequences! In later years, “Avatar” held my heart!

I have oft dreamt of the day to simply carve out space to soak into popular dragon literature, as much as seek out new authors that might not always be mentioned by other readers! How thankful I am, then, that this particular book was offered to me to read and review!

About the Author | Jackie Gamber

Jackie Gamber

You can read Gamber’s Full Biography, on her website, however, I learnt quite a few things about her whilst I was composing my questions for an interview! For instance, the essence of what she knew of dragons that originated from a dream she had that was the impetus to create “Redheart” shattered the misconceptions and perceptions of dragons, thus known in fantasy! She has a wicked sense for knowing which teas pair nicely with the books your palette is whet to taste! She took up knitting for its meditative qualities. If music is in the background whilst she writes, it has to be instinctively nondescript and ambient in nature, as if she hears a curious lyrical line it could shift her scene whilst its being penned!  She is a retired servicewoman, secretary, and beloved Mum! She finds a keen balance between her writing and her family life. She adores the zoo beyond what words can express. She is a prolific short story writer. She runs a multi-verse platform for story-telling entitled: Allotrope Media, alongside her husband. Believing that a story has the freedom to express itself through multiple mediums. Insofar as being an accomplished playright and screenwriter! She excels at genre jumping but her heart is attached to science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

 

Dragons & Humans | akin to friendship:

I would nearly suspect that if I were to live in another realm, I would pick one with dragons who appreciate a living space where dragons and humans live harmoniously together! Who would want to bypass this beautiful interaction!? I oft think that inter-species communication and connection for me, goes back to my teen years whilst I was researching oceanography and marine biology for a novel I was writing. For me, singling out the interplay between whales, dolphins, and humans held fast and firm to the presumption that interactions between different species can yield insight that is limited without the connection formed at all! (An excellent film about dolphins and dogs interacting is “Zeus and Roxanne”!) In this way, I have always held a soft spot in my heart for reading and/or listening to stories of the animals who have learnt to communicate with us directly as much as the stories of inter-species communications I have uncovered from rather unique pairings of animals!

The natural world breathes its mirth of knowledge in gentle and slow breaths of enlightenment, which you can observe the more you’re spending time outside, keeping still, and reverently attune to what is being spoken around you! Gentle whispers of truth floating in the short bursts of wind, the kissings of the sun, the sway of the trees, and the noddings of clouds, as you walk into the depths of the natural environment; your perception of what is there is heightened by your presence being accepted by those who call the habitat your walking through: home.

Dragons to me, always felt to encompass human-like characteristics that gave you the impression that if any species could live in an accord with us, it would be the dragons! They are generally emotionally driven, feel things deeply with their hearts, and they have keen observation and hearing skills that make them in a position to have empathy and tolerance. I always had the sense inside me that a dragon is as curious in nature as humans, and oft-times could get themselves into a bit of trouble untoward that regard!

In Redheart, she opens the door for a dragon to be incapacitated to care as he’s shut off his emotional heart, and would rather wallow in his self-pity than to admit that he still has something he can give and achieve, if he only gave himself half a chance! She writes his character flaws well, giving light to his physical discomfort as much as his reflective mannerisms that paint the picture clearly as how you would expect to find him if you stumbled across his cave! His anguish for his deceased parents is soul-wrenching because you can tell he has not yet traversed through his grief and emerged on the other side. He grieves as though they had only just died and his blinded sight of this sorrow is part of what is holding him back. Kallon gives the adjective ‘downtrodden’ a whole new meaning, as you can nearly see his disheartened sighs as he shifts into the floor of his cave and kicks up dust as he snorts, whilst entering his domain!

I think originally when the worlds of the dragons and humans were more intermixed, the relationships and friendships they built together was easier going than it is at the time we enter the life of Kallon and Riza. Fear has changed the landscape, and greed has nearly shattered the natural environment. Yet. Dragons and humans are akin to friendship because it’s part of the wiring of who they are. They are community entities that thrive best whilst surrounded by others’ rather than isolated as recluses. With friendship, each day is a bit more special than the last, because there was someone there to share the experience, the adventure, and the conversation of simply ‘being in the moment’ as it came to pass!

Wordsmiths are my favourites next to research enthusiasts:

Ms. Gamber has a way of weaving the opening bits of this tale in such a way that your hungry for each new sentence that alights in your mind! She has a way of showing the interactions between a freaked out of her skull human and a disgruntled and reclusive dragon as though this were an ordinary tale, set in an ordinary time, and one that would easily be taken as ‘written’ and ‘true’. Her ease of giving the reader the chance to soak into her narrative is brilliant when you consider this is an epic fantasy, with a world created fully unknown to the reader who picks up the book!

Next to (writers who are) research enthusiasts, my next favourite writer is the wordsmith! The one who uses a palette of words to paint the portraits of what evolves into the stories that light up our imaginations with such a vigorous intensity! They use words in a fashion that infuses emotion, heart, and observation in a way that is both poetic and brilliantly unique. And, being emotional beings (dragons), I would wager could lead to disappointments, misunderstandings, and grievously difficult emotional keels! She eclipses the depth of their personality with deft skill! Soulful! Dragons to me, have always come across as being ‘soulful’, filt to the brim with an ageless wisdom and a mission to seek out understanding in things that they do not always understand at first.

Trust, Determination, and Faith:

Three of the most difficult lessons we all face during our lifetimes is trusting what is happening will eventually turn around and become resolved. Staying determined that what ever befalls us will not define who we are or what we are capable of achieving. And, having the faith to encourage the strength needed in order to carry onward when our paths are not readily known or easily seen. I find these attributes at play in Kallon and Riza, who independently have to come to grips with the fact that their lives are taking a few left turns. Each of them are reluctant to admit that they are hesitate when it comes to trusting others, and each other for that matter! Slowly, as they start to spend time in each others’ company, they realise what they are missing by staying solo and isolated from companionship.

Review of Redheart:

What I feel Redheart is truly about is that a single act of courage and sacrifice is what can separate you from a crowd of maddening prejudice. It can also be the spark of the last true gift a father can bestow to his son at the time of his death. The true miracle is not allowing yourself to turn cold-hearted, to where you can no longer see what your heart is hoping you can! Our eyes are only one vehicle of sight, and if we are blinded in our hearts, we experience true blindness by not being able to see what is right in front of us. We’re surrounded by little bits of fragmented knowledge that speaks to us in the ripples of life that bursts and simmers wherever we walk. It’s knowing how to acknowledge where our lifepath is leading us to venture is the true source of understanding the greater whole of our life.

In the opening sequences of the story, the startled out of her wits human presents a classic encounter where the principal character is plucked out of her environment, taken into a new place, and has to sort out how to live where she’s planted! The fact that her rescuer is a reclusive dragon, makes the story ever more endearing, because oft-times you only hear of bold, confident dragons who are never absent of courage, or you encounter the battle-torn dragons who fight more than they alight in joy. Riza has to yield to trusting strangers in order to effectively change her stars and walk forward into a future of her choosing rather than the one that is expected.

Whilst reading the back-story of the dragons, I started to notice the similarities with their ancestral past and those of Native Americans. I grew up surrounded by Native American culture, art, and tradition as my parents always encouraged me to learn about cultures different from my own at a young age. Some of my fondest memories are the conversations I had with a Cherokee gentleman who owned a lovely art gallery and bookshoppe! Through his conversations, I have always been endeared to their cultural heritage, and as I read about Kallon’s dragon legacies of the ages, I started to recognise the underpinnings of cross-references.

An effective insurrection of power is happening in the background of Redheart, as you are introduced to such a garish brute as Blackclaw! His entire being is consumed with a thirst for blood, power, and control – to where he cannot think of anything else except the execution of engaging Dragonkind into a war with the humans! He is the complete opposite of leaders, who previously were vowed to encourage peace and civility with the humans. There is a sideline mystery about the causes of the environmental destructive patterns that are encroaching on the lands of each societies, which gives root to where the distention might have originally began.

Gamber weaves spirituality into her story with subtlety, as she begs the reader to consider the wider view of the story as a whole. To look inside our own hearts and minds, to reach past what we were expecting of the story and to see what she was trying to impart as the message that she has given us all to bear witness to. Living through faith and by faith alone is not an easy task, nor is seeing without the aide of our senses. Friendship is akin to love, and love is akin to friendship, thus so is faith akin to trust without sight.

Gamber has written a hypnotic tale that lulls you into a dreamy state of ethereal bliss, as you enter into the world of the Leland Dragons! It’s a story that you do not want to rush through, as you wander around slowly, taking in each scene and each piece of the world she’s created for the reader to become wholly enthused inside.

A Dragon Hunter with a curious complex of character!

When Jastin Armitage first comes onto the scene in Redheart, I am inwardly suspicious of his motives and of his leanings for dragon | human interactions. I gathered the sense that he was on the ‘opposite’ side of the spectrum from where I stood myself, and it came as no surprise whilst I learnt the hard truth that he ‘hunts dragons’ for a living! That aside, I found it rather curious when Gamber didn’t create the stereotypical ‘hunter’ character, but rather, gave him a bit of a working up as a man who is in conflict and attempting to be a better man than he might endeavour to represent! His gruff attitude towards Riza softened when he saw her up close, and it led me to believe that there is more to his heart than his persona as a rough-and-ready take no prisoners dragon hunter! I smirked and suppressed a giggle when I came across the scene in the The Brown Barrell where he rather cheekily gained information about the dragons he was seeking! I like cheeky humour in epic fantasy, because it helps keep the pace in-between the serious events a happy calm! He is definitely a character you are eager to read more about, with an arched eyebrow and a furrowing crease of your forehead whilst you realise he’s just this side of dangerous!

And, the story continues,…

I am in full gratitude that this is only! the first installment of the Leland Dragon series, as not since Kate Elliott’s “Crown of Stars” series and the aforementioned “Ave” series by Stephen Zimmer, have I settled into such a wonderfully wicked epic fantasy world! All these years I’ve been seeking where I should go next as far as which series to attempt to sink into and which world of whose characters would charm me with their endearing personalities,… It’s not a lightning bolt on anyone’s desk to realise that I adore full-bodied and fully realised worlds to etch myself into and soak straight into the context of the stories that draw me into their realms! The Leland Dragon series thankfully has a second installment already available, and I am hopeful, the third is shortly going to be released as it’s one of those series you are not inclined to want to put down for very long! I found a rumoured note that Book Three delves into Murk Forest whereupon dragon hunter Jastin Armitage becomes the hunted! I say ‘rumoured’ as I cannot find any mentionings online for when Book Three will drop, but I did come across the news that it marks the final installment, making Leland Dragons a trilogy! I can only hope once I reach that part of the story, I am ready to say “Good-bye”. For this story is a powerful one, that encourages you to move your fingers gingerly page to page, daring not to know what is revealed next, and yet, willing you to read where the story is leading  you to go!

All I can say, is that I hope there is more ‘flying amongst the clouds and over the trees’, as being free to explore the land and sky in this way I think is every dreamers ultimate wish! Rock on, Ms. Gamber for giving me such a wicked sense of pure joy and sense of adventure by capturing how it would feel to be ‘in flight’ without the security of being in a plane! I would fathom that being astride a dragon is similar to that of a horse, as there is a co-companionship that emerges that turns the journey into a conjoined experience.


“Redheart” by Jackie Gamber Book Trailer by Seventh Star Press


Be sure to catch the second half of this showcase on JLAS:
Jorie interviews Jackie Gamber, author of the Leland Dragon series!

This review was made possible by Seventh Star Press! They have my full gratitude!

Seventh Star Press

IF your a reader of dragon lore and fiction, which books and series stand out in your mind as the next ‘best’ read for me to engage in!? I’ll compile a list, and when I go to sit down with more books of this nature, I will pull your suggestions together and see how many I can read! I do have copies of “Eragon” & “Brisinger” on my self as much as I am curious about: the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik, the Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb, Pern by Anne MacCaffrey, and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede, of which I have stumbled across thus far! IF you’ve read any of these, which were your favourites!? And, what warmed you to the story of Redheart, as I reviewed the story!?
Cross-listed on: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fridays via On Starships & Dragonwings
{ converse via: #LelandDragons, #7thStar & #dragonfiction }

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Redheart” by Matthew Perry and Jackie Gamber’s photograph were all provided by Tomorrow Comes Media and used with permission. Seventh Star Press logo badge provided by Seventh Star Press and used with permission. The book trailer by Seventh Star Press had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2013.

Related Articles:

Dragons in Literature – (en.wikipedia.org)

Jackie Gamber Tea Pairings with Books via English Tea Shop Blog – (englishtea.us)

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Posted Wednesday, 30 October, 2013 by jorielov in Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Dragon Fiction, Equality In Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Folklore and Mythology, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Young Adult Fiction