The three statues stabilizing the very thread of the world have been saved. They're in the right spot, and harmony has been restored. But is the adventure over for Tipper Schope, Grattapot-morphit Bealomon-dore, and the rest of the gang? Not hardly.
War is brewing between Chiril and a neighboring country, and they must keep the statues safe. They are sent away into hiding in one of the little-known kimen villages, with Tipper, Bealomondore, Fenworth, and Librettowit as their guardians. But they can't just sit idly by while Verrin Schope, Lady Peg, and Paladin save the day! Soon everyone is actively involved in an epic quest to save Chiril!
Let me just say, this book is so much better than the first one. It's easier to understand, had more enjoyable characters, and was set at a quicker pace. It focused more on my favorite characters, Bealomondore and Lady Peg, and also introduced a new one to add to my collection of favorites: the perky little kimen Hollee.
That said, it's still far from one of the best books out there. It might be faster paced than the first book, but it's still pretty slow.
And then there's the matter of Tipper. While she was an acceptable main character in the first book, in this one she's just plain annoying. I mean, she leads Bealomondore on for almost the entire book! Meanie pants.
Donita K. Paul also needs to develop her fight scenes a little. Dragons of the Valley does have more fighting than The Vanishing Sculptor, (it is about a war), but the battles last for only a brief paragraph always ending with "At last so and so won the battle." In this book, Bealomondore gets his own sword and soon becomes a master swordsman, and it's a shame we don't get to hear more about his amazing talent than "he whipped out his magic sword..."
But once you get all that out of the way, there are some parts I simply adored. Lady Peg really gets to shine in this one, engaging in a full conversation of twists and turns with an evil spy that leaves him thinking there's a complex system of code words and meanings.
Miss Paul also came up with a surprisingly good villain (though he could've been better, in my opinion). The Grawl, half man half beast with super human intelligence and hunting capabilities. So dangerous he could bring down Chiril, and all the dragons, singlehanded. Well, sort of.
And then there's Wulder. If you remember from the review in October, I didn't really like the God figure in the first book. But this time, he seems appropriately God-like and awe-inspiring. Bealomondore uses one of the best lines ever that is so true when he says, "As an artist, I have no doubt that someone created all you see. There is no picture without an artist."
You might like this if you: read the first book and wished it'd been better; like Christian fantasy or adventure/fantasy; quirky fantasy like The Ratastrophe Catastrophe by David Lee Stone; or if you saved the world from unraveling but are worried about your annoying neighbor messing it all up again.