Monday, October 19, 2009

Silver Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham

Worver's Amazing Circus of Light is a favorite in the lands of Solamnia, and this year, Acrobat Jace and Juggler Cerisse are touring with the Headliner of the circus's new act, Belen, a dancer.

Jace is in love with Belen, so when a white-robe wizard leaps up and nearly kills him, spoiling his act, he's angry, but when the Wizard, a man named Mysos, claims that not only is Belen a Silver Dragon, but that she killed an entire town full of people, he is all to willing to defend her.

Belen doesn't know she is a dragon- she can't remember anything of her life before the circus or how she got there, but if Mysos is right, she is willing to be punished for what she has done, even if she no longer remembers doing it or why.

Jace and Cerisse ask Mysos for five days to see if the story is true, and travel to the village, not far away, and also to the Dragon Belen's former lair. Along the way, they are accompanied by a wizard named Ebano, an illusionist with the circus. When they get to her lair, Belen finds that she remembers some of what happened to her, but not all. They do discover why she freaked out: her egg was stolen, and someone, she can't remember who, told her that the villagers were responsible.

But when they get to the village, they find the villagers are not dead, just cursed by the Goddess Chislev for losing her stone that they were meant to guard. The villagers were cursed to turn into werewolves, and the last uncursed human is the Priestess of Chislev, who guards her former friends and neighbors and blames Belen for stealing the stone.

But Belen didn't steal it. Someone used the confusion of her attack on the village to steal it, and steal away the village's good luck and plenty. But who could that villain be? When they return and find the circus' owner, Worver, has locked them up so that they cannot tell what they have discovered, while Belen prepares to enslave herself to Worver and the circus for the rest of her life, blaming herself for what happened to the village even if she isn't ultimately at fault. But can Cerisse and Jace fight Worver, his minions, and the power of the stone before Belen voluntarily enslaves herself to Worver? Or will Worver win after all?

I liked this book. It had just the right combination of magic, detective work, and derring do to solve the mystery. Not that it's an easy fight. Worver is a lot like Professor Quirrel from the Harry Potter books. He appears ridiculous and a wuss at first glance, but that's just a mask he wears to conceal the menace on the inside.

So far, he's managed to fool everyone, and he even manages to fool the reader. Well, for a while. But Jace and Cerisse come off as authentically young and heroic. Jace, after all, doesn't seem to realize that Cerisse has feelings for him, even as he pines for Belen. But whether he pines or not, even if he has no training as a warrior, Jace uses his tumbling and acrobatic skills to his best advantage.

In short, I liked this book alot. It's well in keeping with the rest of this series I have read. Though the protagonists are all, generally, teenagers, the focus of the story isn't love or an adult relationship, and so younger readers won't get grossed out by the story. Recommended.

No comments: