Sela by Jackie Gamber
Review by Daniel Cann
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?
This sequel is set many years after “Redheart” and finds Sela now as a young seventeen year old woman with somewhat of a rootless and unsettled existence – she loves her human guardian Uncle Orman Thistleby but also her dragon parents. This young unassuming girl is the vital link between dragonkind and humankind.
Impressively this is no re-tread. Gamber has clearly gone to great lengths to expand and enhance the many elements that made the first in the Leland series a delightful read.
It was nice to see Sela’s innocent but romantic relationship with young soldier Bannon Raley develop. It is a novel with much of its predecessor’s charm, with its central character just as impetuous and rebellious as she was in the first outing.
Fordon Blackclaw’s son Drell gets involved in this adventure and Fane Whitetail is a Machiavellian dragon pulling and manipulating the strings. In true Gamber style there is much plotting and scheming and dragon council politics to keep her readers up on their toes.
With castles, mountains, forests, deserts, underground tunnels and caves there are lots of interesting places to explore in this world and Gamber’s storytelling skills ensure this is all vividly brought to life.
This is a darker entry in the series with its spies, defection, betrayal and dragons being hunted for “sport”.
Once again Gamber has constructed a novel with care and executed it with precision. With themes as far ranging as deception, prejudice, misunderstanding, redemption and forgiveness this is certain to appeal to children and adults of all ages. Magic!
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