review: “dragonfly” March 11, 2010Posted by Katie in reviews.
Dragonfly by Julia Golding.
Marshall Cavendish // Hardcover // 390 pages.
Reviewed from library copy.
Two very different lands are about to unite when Princess Taoshira (Tashi to her friends) is told by her four ruling companions that she is to marry Prince Ramil of Gerfal. Their worlds are very different, and currently in a state of flux, waiting for a mutual enemy to strike. When they meet, Tashi and Ramil hate each other immediately. But when they are kidnapped, each of their homeland blames the other. Can these two polar opposites work together to get back to their kingdoms before the whole land turns to war?
I really enjoyed this book — it has been such a long time since I read an incredibly detailed high fantasy novel. (Other than Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling” and “Fire,” I’m only coming up with Tamora Pierce books. If anyone has some high-fantasy reading suggestions, let me know in the comments!)
The incredible detail of the world-building was awesome. I really liked the differences between the two countries and their cultures. Tashi’s world resembles an Asian-style culture; while Ramil’s world is a very typical patriarchal medieval society. (I just checked online — other reviewers have traced Tashi’s world influence to Shogunate Japan, specifically.)
Tashi and Ramil are good characters, but a bit archetypal. I felt like I had seen their characters before, and I knew their end result — this did not detract from the story, in my mind. The supporting characters (particularly Yelena, the swordswoman) were bright spots, and I was so glad to see a well-rounded, full cast to complete the world that Golding created.
I was a little bit frustrated that we had a kidnapping plot, followed by an escape, followed by another kidnapping, another escape, another problem. It dragged after a while and I was beginning to wonder exactly how Tashi kept getting out of her scraps by sheer luck. (She really has few skills as a character. She does learn how to ride a horse though.)
Thought this was a great fantasy book to add to public library collections with a large fantasy following. Unfortunately, that’s not for my teens. (But I have added the book to my personal library!)