My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Author for review
Published June 1st 2008 by Mundania Press LLC
'For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover-the dragonslayer-disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning. Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child. Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace.'
This was a captivating story with an imaginative world full of interesting characters and a unique plotline that made it difficult to put this book down.
It started off a little slow compared to what I normally prefer but once I got past the half-way mark it sped up to a fast pace where I was totally hooked and from that point I struggled to stop reading to perform other daily functions.
The author paints a world that is very unique and something I haven't come across before. I was fascinated by the way the character's have the ability to shape shift if they have had the fortune of being able to eat lizard meat during their life. There is also a distinction made between actual dragons that have special powers and what are so-called 'lizards' which look very similar to dragons but are not as powerful and like to attack and eat humans.
Enter the dragonslayer, a certain individual that is hired and given a specially made sword so they can hunt and kill any of the lizards that pose a threat to the villagers.
I was pleased to read a book with a strong female lead character for a change. It was interesting to see the growth in Astrid from the child with no confidence due to being badly scarred when she was almost eaten by a dragon, to being the village blacksmith who creates the dragonslayer swords to eventually becoming the dragonslayer herself and protector of her people.
There was a side story of where Astrid came from and how she became what she was which I did find a little confusing at times and I thought this part of the story would have benefited from a little more detail to give a better view of the big picture.
Overall I found this a very entertaining read and can't wait to follow more of Astrid's journey in the next instalment.
The Dragonslayer's Sword in the first book in the Dragonslayer series.
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