The June pick for the Fellowship of Fantasy book club was one I’ve been wanting to read for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to it because: life. And because I had an old copy of the paperback and knew the author had since updated and edited the book, and I wanted to read the new version. So, as per usual, the FoF book club provided me the excuse I needed!
I had read the Bookania books a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them and the fun fairy-tale world setting. Rizkaland is not the same as Bookania, and I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it as much… I needn’t have worried. Rizkaland is unique and every bit as much fun as Bookania, but in different ways. The world is cylinder-shaped, science works differently there, and of course, portals exist between our world and there, so our hero and heroine are not native to Rizkaland.
The main characters, Clara and Andrew, hail from our world, and get pulled through a doorway into Rizkaland in order to fulfill a prophecy and save multiple kingdoms from Amber, the dragon who threatens their world. However, Clara and Andrew aren’t certain they want anything to do with this destiny that has been thrust upon them. And they certainly have no interest in falling in love with each other, as the prophecy seems to imply must happen!
Things I Loved:
The Writing Style – It’s hard to describe a writing style, as each reader is going to have a different sort of taste or preference, but Kendra’s writing just sort of draws me in and invites me to pull a warm blanket around my shoulders and settle in, because I just know I’m about to embark on a fun adventure.
Andrew – Andrew is my favorite character in this story. He is responsible, caring, compassionate, and exactly the sort of person you’d want on your side if you had to go up against a dragon. I love that he represents a more “hearth-like” sort of fire, the steady, gentle glow that keeps you warm, rather than the raging inferno or devouring monstrosity that “fiery” personalities usually engender. But that doesn’t mean he’s weak, on the contrary, it might take more to get him riled, but Andrew is no slouch when it comes to protecting the people he cares about. He has a core of steel.
Clara – Although it took me longer, I did eventually grow to enjoy Clara. She got on my nerves a bit in the beginning, but she was frightened and so I suppose it makes sense that she felt the need to be prickly. I also have a soft spot for feisty, talented female protagonists who are a bit marshmallowy inside than they seem. Clara’s not as tough as she’d like you to think she is.
The plot - From mazes and puzzles to solve, journeys across foreign lands, quests to find each other, hints that not all is as it seems, and the culmination of an epic battle… this story was fun to read!
The references – Clara quotes things. I quote things. I think, on that front, we’d be kindred spirits. It makes me happy that I “got” every reference she made, and it was entertaining to come across these little quote-nuggets throughout the book.
Things I Didn’t Love:
As I mentioned earlier, Clara took a while to grow on me. She starts out kind of obnoxious, and I sort of wanted to shake her every now and then.
There were a few places where the story felt like it dragged a little and nothing seemed to be happening.
The battle at the end sort of felt like it ended too easily, like Amber had been hyped-up a bit too much… I guess I was expecting something a bit more epic and grand in scope.
The “it’s all going to end okay” use of prophecy throughout the story kind of grated a bit on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I love the prophecy trope (I wrote one, myself!), I love books with happy endings and I always want the good guys to win… but I don’t want to know a quarter of the way into the book that the ending WILL be happy and that the good guys will win. For me, that detracts from the adventure. Everything was spelled out so neatly in the prophecy, it wasn’t a mysterious prophecy, it was a “this is what is going to happen, so get on board and go do it” kind of prophecy, and for me, that made it hard to get too worried about the characters.
These are minor quibbles, however, and overall the story was an enjoyable read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland, or Inkheart.
A solid four Dragon Eggs to this one.