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Dragons of the Valley Review by Brandi Tesreau

By Donita K. Paul
Water Brook Press
12265 Oracle Blvd. Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80921

A great and terrible evil has infiltrated the land of Chiril. War is at hand. Can a reluctant warrior, a scatterbrained wizard, and a spirited princess prevail in their quest to protect Verrin Schope's magical statues and save their homeland from utter devastation?

There's more than just a physical battle ravaging Princess Tipper Schope's countryside--a spiritual battle rages within the depths of Tipper's soul. She and her many comrades must journey to the Valley of Dragons in the hope of keeping her father's statues from falling into enemy hands. While the party dodges King Odidoddex's traps, fights bisonbecks, and searches for clues about the enemy--especially the one known as The Grawl--Tipper wrestles with the idea of Wulder, He Who Is. Will she be able to accept this Wulder in whom many of her friends, including the man she fancies, have put their trust?

In the beginning I was a little overwhelmed with this new fantasy adventure. The many characters with hard-to-pronounce names and the 14 different races populating this imaginary world were keeping me somewhat confused. (Thankfully, there is an appendix in the back of the book to describe all of the unfamiliar characters and terms!) I didn't realize until after I began reading that Dragons of the Valley is the second novel in the series. No wonder I was having a difficult time connecting to the characters. Had Dragons of the Valley not been a product review, I might have been tempted to put it down. I am glad, though, that I was forced to persevere, because by the tenth chapter or so, I was hooked and looked forward to my reading time. Those 370 pages didn't seem quite as daunting anymore!

Once I became familiar with the characters and engaged in the plot, I was able to relax and enjoy the story. Donita K. Paul's detailed descriptions bring her novel to life, revealing her characters' distinct personalities and quirks, which I love. Her characters are interesting and her imagination contagious. After finishing the book, I felt encouraged to keep my own passion alive for reading and writing fantasy fiction!

Donita K. Paul, a former homeschooling mom, really is a multi-talented writer of fiction. (My daughter has a copy of her delightful children's book, The Dragon and the Turtle.) I recommend Dragons of the Valley to fantasy lovers of all ages. It's a great book to pass on to your kids and discuss with them the importance of faith, perseverance, and being the person God created you to be. However, I would recommend beginning with the first book in the series, The Vanishing Sculptor, which is now on my list of books to read! Suggested retail price is $13.99, but there are many on-line stores and prices from which to choose.

Product review by Brandi Tesreau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011