Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Vanishing Sculptor by Donita K. Paul

Storyline: Tipper is a young woman with a mother whose mind wanders, an estate to manage, and a grand parrot, Sir Beccaroon, as her guardian. Everyone thinks that her father, the famous artist Verrin Schope, has abandoned them.

Tipper has been selling her father’s artwork to bring money into the household. Despite that, they’re still struggling. Then, inexplicably, Verrin reappears with a couple of wacky companions, his artistic skills better than before, and an urgent quest for three of his missing statues.

My Thoughts: Donita K. Paul has done it again!!

I’d grown to love all of her characters from the Dragonkeeper Chronicles—Kale, Bardon, Swamp-wizard Fenworth, Sir Dar, Toopka—and wasn’t sure I’d like a new book with new characters. But a couple of old friends showed up, much to my delight, and the author kept her old perfect mixture of high adventure and humor. In fact, there were several breathtaking scenes, a few heartwarming moments as Tipper and her father bond, and several exchanges involving Sir Beccaroon or the prissy artist Bealomondore that had me laughing out loud.

One thing I didn’t like (granted, it took up only one sentence of the book): a male friend gives Tipper a kiss on the cheek. Once again, my “unmarried couples kissing” thing.

Some of you might not like the whole “good wizards” and magic element, but I find that Donita K. Paul did very well with it. The good magic follows a very specific set of rules set by Wulder (God) and wizards are evil when they bend and twist the rules. Plus, a lot of the magic done by good wizards involves something useful, light, and fun. To me, that doesn’t make it so difficult as when the good guys consider always consider their magic serious. The part I like least about it is mindspeaking (although there's plenty of humor involved with the mindspeaking dragons), but the other stuff is fine.

And there are dragons. I love dragons! I find Donita's classification of the dragons according to sizes very cool and original, plus the different talents she gives to the minor dragons are always fun to read about (minor dragons are kitten-sized). I honestly wish I could have about a dozen minor dragons. :0)

If you appreciate good fantasy and humor, definitely check out this book and the others by Donita K. Paul (DragonSpell, DragonQuest, DragonKnight, DragonFire, DragonLight).

Rating: four and a half stars

*Update: This book is now called Dragons of the Valley*


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