Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Rising From the Ashes: The Chronicles of Caymin (The Dragonmage Saga #1)

Caren J. Werlinger. Corgyn Publishing, 2016. 295 pp.
Rating: Worthy + 5 Scoops

Fantasy isn't my go to genre. Truthfully, it's never really been on my radar. Not because I despised it, but because I hadn't been introduced to it. Many times as I read blog posts or hear readers talk about beloved fantasy stories, I feel that I've missed out on many great books during my formative years. While others were discovering and feeding their love of fantasy in middle and junior high school, I was re-reading, for the umpteenth time, the books that adorned my bedroom bookshelf. It wasn't because I loved them so much, but because I simply didn't know what else to read.  Now with each fantasy novel I complete, the shovel drops another load filling in the hollow pit of my non-fantasy reading life. Soon though, this book hole shall be jam-packed!

Goodreads SummaryAncient Ireland – an era of clan wars, petty kings and invasions by raiders from the north. 

As Christianity tightens its hold, magic and the old ways fight to keep their place in the hearts of the people. 

Born into this world is Ash, orphaned and maimed, left to die. She is rescued by a clan of badgers and raised to be one of them. As she grows, so does her magic, until at last she comes to the attention of other humans. Some of them want to protect her; some want to use her. 

When she bonds with an orphaned dragon cub, the two of them become pawns in a bid for power. Forced to flee, dragon and dragonmage embark on a quest to seek the answers as to why they were bonded and what their future holds.

Rising from the Ashes is the fifth dragon tale I've read and it's the best one I've read to date. The cover couldn't have been more perfect in illustrating the contents of the story.  The snowdrops liberally scattered across the foliage highlights the buoyant tones of the ancient, mystical forest inviting the reader into its enchanted domain. Though there is relatively no action, the plot builds slow and steady preparing the reader for the following action-packed sequels. The character-driven narrative allows the reader to get to know the characters--their personalities and motivations. 

I liked Ash. Her willingness to trust Enat and other humans, despite deeming them all destructive and violent, speaks much to her character. Also, her awakening to the truth that human nature doesn't prescribe to clear, clean-cut lines, but may, in fact, and in many instances are blurred and murky struck a chord of empathy within me. Much like a child that leaves home and enters the "real world," Ash left the protection of her sett and lost the innocence of her previous sheltered existence.  My favorite part of the story is when Ash claims her name. 

This place was old, older than any place Ash had ever been. She felt the power emanating from the stones as she stepped inside the circle and stood, her face to the sky, her arms held wide.

"I am Caymin." 
...A ripple of energy moved through the air, moved through the very earth. (79)
To me that passage signifies the power that dwells within each of us and the energy that is released in the atmosphere once we claim what is ours: be it our name, gifts, talents, or purpose. On a humorous note, the banter between Beanna and Peist gave me plenty of laughs.
Rising From the Ashes is well written and researched. Before starting this book, I knew zilch about badgers. While reading, I found myself researching them and watching badgers videos on YouTube. I definitely will continue reading the series and look forward to the second installment.

If you enjoyed Rising From the Ashes, I recommend One Realm Beyond by Donita K. Paul.

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.** 

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