The Royal Dragoneers
Review by Molly
M. R. Mathias’ The Royal Dragoneers opens as Jenka De Swasso peeked through the thick leathery undergrowth in which he was hiding. Stealthily sixteen-year-old Jenka moved through shadowy glades of the Orich; his prey, an ancient stag was past his prime.
Jenka’s hope is to one day become a King’s Ranger as was his father before him. It was here in the Orich Mountains that Jenka’s father had died when Jenka was very young. His father gave his life saving the Crown Prince.
By the time Jenka located the fallen stag it was too late to do anything except protect his kill and wait for morning, and hope someone might notice he was missing and come looking. He thought too of Delia the baker’s daughter. And of little gray goblins and bands of feral, rock-hurling trolls said to live here in these mountains. And of Crix Crux. Master Kember had said that Crix Crux was an ogre.
Tangible fear filled Jenka as his thoughts continued. Something huge was moving about out in the shadows. A sleek, scaly beast came lurching down out of the darkened sky.
From that beginning the reader enters a fascinating world of legend and inscrutability where dragons are dreaded even though they are seldom seen. It is a land where trolls and goblins rove the rough country.
Sixteen-year old Jenka de Swasso’s destiny seems to take an abrupt turn when he and the young dragon Jade find some common ground. It is a pretty extraordinary state of affairs in a country where dragons are viewed with terror and abhorrence by everyone. Jenka’s dreams may come to nothing; the world of kings and rangers is in jeopardy. The supernatural druida Zahrellion plays a part. Jade the dragon is waiting as King Blanchard fumbles a bit unable to believe his kingdom might be attacked. His son Richard may hold an answer.
Jenka finds himself joining a distinctive society in which his out of the ordinary buddy, Zahrellion, whose mysterious and potent magic Jenka is learning to respect, as well as Prince Richard too, is a member, and as is Rikki a lame young warrior who has beaten the odds of excruciating injuries to become part of the team.
The Royal Dragoneers promises and keeps that pledge of an exciting step into a mythic world of awe-inspiring escapade, wild battles, exciting characters, fully detailed locales and nerve-racking accomplishment. Action is fast paced, satisfying in quantity and exploit and moves the reader at a brisk page from line to line and page to page at a breathless tempo.
Dangers are satisfactorily revealed with new details layered slowly but surely as the reader and written characters alike gain more knowledge of the situation, vista, and state of affairs. The mountains are detailed well. The stag hunt, rescue, along with village and characters are all presented well as a dramatic depiction of the mythic world and its players are revealed.
From the worrisome goblin king Gravelbone and his band of troublesome orcs, trolls and goblins to Jade, to a stubborn king who tends to lock the best of his realm in dungeons rather than deal with problems or face the truth to a graying old Kings Ranger and a band of determined youngsters to witches, druids and more; The Royal Dragoneers by M. R. Mathias is sure to please the target audience of middle and high school age readers.
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