Saturday, 6 February 2016

Book Review - Farah Oomerbhoy's The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles)


The Last of the Firedrakes - The Avalonia Chronicles
Author: Farah Oomerbhoy
Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy


The first thing that I struck me when I held 'The Last of Firedrakes' in my hand was the beauty of the cover. It is a pretty and royal book.
Just like Aurora, its protagonist is... pretty and royal.
There's a grandeur that is reflected in the shiny cover, the attractive font, and the mysterious colors. The cover superbly announces the glorious, magical world of Avalonia. The book justifies the cover.

'The Last of the Firedrakes' is written in first person narrative of Aurora. An orphan, living with a family who barely tolerate her, Aurora enters the magical world of Avalonia. Her life undergoes a drastic change as she discovers the truth about herself and her past.
Destiny reveals the truth of Aurora's life and steers her towards the path of adventure and responsibility.

Aurora is a teenager struggling to fit into a new environment, and friends and bullies make for a parallel inner circle, to the wider outer circle of the bigger picture of good and evil fighting to free the Land of Avalonia from the clutches of the evil queen.

She is a teenager who just wants to be accepted, and yet wants to carve out her own path. Aurora's Harry Potter-like recklessness and bravery, make for an interesting read as she tries to figure out who is with her and who is not. Aurora's friends and foes are not as easily identified as in Harry Potter, and it keeps the reader guessing.

Aurora is asked in this book - "How will you ever know the magnitude of courage you are capable of if you have never experienced the hopelessness of fear?"
'The Last of the Firedrakes' takes the reader on an emotional ride of hopelessness and happiness, insecurities and strength.

As I saw the spirited girl on the cover, I thought of Alice in Wonderland. An orphan who discovers a magical world is reminiscent of Harry Potter. Once I read this book - the first of The Avalonia Chronicles - I thought of these and many other grand fantastical stories.
But the story of 'The Last of Firedrakes' is engaging in its own right.
As I read the book, I consciously refused to compare it to books like Harry Potter. They mean too much to me. It would have been unfair.

The world of The Avalonia Chronicles has many mysterious characters and yet, it is not too complicated. There is a simplicity to the telling of this story that makes it a smooth, easy read.

Through the story is a mysterious underlying promise of romance that gives an emotional edge to this story of medley of creatures and peculiar lands.
There is a sensual mystery that runs through most of this book that, I have to say, I correctly guessed the answer to.

'The Last of the Firedrakes' is an unbelievable debut novel with its impressive characters and crisp language.
Waiting for the next in the series of The Avalonia Chronicles.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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About the Book

16-year-old Aurora Darlington is an orphan. Mistreated by her adopted family and bullied at school, she dreams of running away and being free. But when she is kidnapped and dragged through a portal into a magical world, suddenly her old life doesn’t seem so bad.

Avalonia is a dangerous land ruled by powerful mages and a cruel, selfish queen who will do anything to control all seven kingdoms—including killing anyone who stands in her way. Thrust headlong into this new, magical world, Aurora’s arrival sets plans in motion that threaten to destroy all she holds dear.

With the help of a young fae, a magical pegasus, and a handsome mage, Aurora journeys across Avalonia to learn the truth about her past and unleash the power within herself. Kingdoms collide as a complicated web of political intrigue and ancient magic lead Aurora to unravel a shocking secret that will change her life forever. 

Book Links:

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World of Avalonia



An Excerpt

Chapter 3
Kidnapped

For a second that felt like a lifetime, everything stopped; I felt like I was floating in nothingness. Then I blinked, and, when I finally opened my eyes and focused again through the tears, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I found myself standing at the mouth of a small cave situated on a hill and overlooking a quiet, moonlit valley. On my left, a dark forest stretched out as far as the eye could see, treetops glistening silver in the light of the full moon. The hills around us undulated into wildflower-filled meadows that lay sleeping in the dewy night.
Far down in the valley, I could see a little village, its lights twinkling in the distance. To my right, a waterfall splashed playfully into a small river that ran down into a lake, next to which the little village was built. The moon here was fuller and larger than I had ever seen it, and the night sky was awash with a fantastic array of glittering stars.
Had I passed through the tapestry? Where was I?
I looked around, disbelief clouding my judgment. I was still trying to get my bearings after that strange moment when I had been inside the tapestry and nowhere at the same time. It gave me a funny feeling, as though I had been lifted out of my own consciousness and then put back into my body.
A warm breeze brushed past my face and played with my hair. Gone were the cloudy grey mist and the cold, nipping wind of the English countryside. I drew in a sharp breath—the air was crisp and clear, sweet smelling, and fresh. The moonlit valley was filled with fruit trees, wildflowers, and rolling meadows.
“How did we come here? Where are we?” I asked, still confused.
“You really are ignorant,” said Oblek, glancing at me. “I take it your uncle didn’t tell you anything?”
I shook my head and looked down. Oblek had tied my hands with a rope he had with him while I was still dazed and looking around. It was humiliating, and the rough ropes cut into my wrists, rubbing them raw every time he pulled me forward.
I had to find some way out of this. And, at the moment, the only thing I could do was discover more about where I was. Then, when I got an opportunity, I could escape and find my way back up to the cave on the hill, where we had arrived out of the tapestry.
But then what?
Christopher was probably dead, and Aunt Arianna would doubtless blame me for everything since I had disappeared at the same time. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t really want to go back, and, now that my adoptive parents were dead, I had nothing to return to.
I was starting to panic. I had nowhere to go, and my mind was imagining an array of horrible outcomes of my kidnapping. My palms had become sweaty, and my racing heart was thundering in my chest as I half-walked and half-ran, desperately trying to keep up with Oblek’s giant strides.
“Why are you doing this?” I pleaded with my kidnapper.
But Lord Oblek said nothing. He didn’t even look at me. He just kept walking ahead and dragging me along behind him, with no more explanations as to what he was planning to do with me.
I was terrified, and I had no idea if I was going to survive this. But I tried to be brave. Maybe I could talk my way out of this?
“You do know that this is called kidnapping?” I said, trying to reason with Oblek.
He didn’t bother to answer.
“What will happen to me now?” I squeaked, my voice breaking, as I tried not to cry.
“Queen Morgana will decide what is to be done with you,” said Oblek, finally.
Queen Morgana! The woman from my dream? It was not possible that this, too, was a coincidence. It must be the same Morgana, the one who had tried to kill my real mother.
Who the hell was she?
Suddenly all of this seemed extremely scary. I hoped that I was still dreaming and that there was no way I had actually traveled through a magical tapestry into some strange land. It all seemed very exciting in books. But actually being kidnapped and then hauled around like an animal, traveling deep into a land I knew nothing about, was not my idea of fun.
I had to get away from this horrible man, and fast.

About the Author

For Farah Oomerbhoy, writing is a passion and reading her solace. She is a firm believer in the fantastic and magical, and often dreams of living in Narnia, Neverland, or the Enchanted Forest.
When she was pregnant with her first child ten years ago, a story popped into her head she could not ignore. “I was at my grandmother’s house, and as I looked at the image of a beautiful forest with a castle in the distance on a tapestry hanging on the wall, I imagined myself being whisked away into another world,” she said. It was at that moment the world of Avalonia, with its powerful mages and fae and the evil Queen Morgana, was born. Farah Oomerbhoy’s debut novel, The Last of the Firedrakes, was released in the summer of 2015.

Farah lives with her husband and three children in their family home in Mumbai, India. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. Her first novel is The Last of the Firedrakes, Book 1 of the Avalonia Chronicles.
  
Contact Farah:


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