âThe Book of Earthâ
Book 1 of the Dragon Quartet
Marjorie B. Kellogg
Erde, the daughter of a German noble is suddenly and terribly thrust into a world of magic and fear when she is accused of a crime she did not commit. After fleeing her father's wrath and the insane ravings of a power-hungry priest, Erde heads into the mountains only to be joined by a small, clumsy, surprisingly un-fantastic dragon named Earth.
Earth knows that he is called to a higher purpose, he just does not know exactly what. Content to put as much distance between her father and herself as possible Erde and Earth go on the run and are joined by an unexpected cast of characters including Hal, a knight past his prime with no lands to call his own, his mule who has an uncanny ability to choose the swiftest roads and âtalkâ to certain people, and an old she-goat who flatly refuses to allow Earth to eat her. The unlikely team must navigate their way through unknown obstacles and face many dangers to help Earth remember and seek out his higher purpose.
I had mixed feelings about âThe Book of Earthâ throughout the entire reading. âThe Book of Earthâ started out slow, then got better, then started dragging again, got really, really good, then dropped off in the middle of the climax, and eventually led to a strange and anti-climatic ending.
Now, that's not to say it wasn't entertaining. âThe book of Earthâ definitely had its moments that made it worth reading. Erde is an exceptionally likeable character despite the fact that she hardly speaks throughout the entire story. Hal, the displaced knight is also a great character despite the fact that he plays an overly father figure who becomes annoying at times, as fathers will I suppose. Earth, the dragon, is also likeable and has some very cute characteristics that make you want to hug him. He's insanely clumsy, purrs when he is petted, and lets his tongue hang out of the side of his mouth like a dog. He does however miss some of the endearing characteristics that fans of âInheritanceâ will have come to enjoy such as the ability to speak. This lack of features, while annoying do not really detract from the story however, and if anything adds to the mystery a little bit.
My biggest gripe is that at the end and highpoint of the climax Kellogg breaks stride and we end up with a long soliloquy that detracts from the main theme that she had going up until that point. It created a sense of surprise when the story finally came to a close and left me feeling kind of like: âThat's it? What the heck happened?â I also felt that Kellogg should have taken the leap into a fantasy world. Putting âThe Book of Earthâ in medieval Europe did not suit the story one bit. In fact, it became hard to remember that you were not engrossed in a fantasy world completely and it would have served her better to just create a new world that could have been more easily molded to her ideas and perhaps would have made the plot less tedious at times.
Overall "The book of Earth" left me with an extreme feeling ofâ¦indifference. I wasn't sad the book was over, wasn't glad I didn't have to read any more, I was completely devoid of feeling when I finally finished. I feel no desire or sense of urgency to complete the series, and highly doubt I will anytime in the near future anyway.
If you take your hand put it parallel to the ground in front of your face and wiggle it back and forth a couple of times while making a whining sound that goes along the lines of âehhhhâ¦â that would be a good summary of this book.
Two and Â½ stars.
This is the first of four dragon-themed novels, one for each of the 'elements': earth, air fire and water.
It's an entertaining but unexceptional fantasy novel. Young Erde, heiress of a barony, is also heir to mystic dragon magic, but her powerful aunt died before she could pass on her knowledge. Erde is now prey for her insane and potentially abusive father, who is being frighteningly influenced by an Inquisitorial priest who is preaching against both witches and dragons, and is incidentally also behind a rebellion against the king.
Necessity demands that she run away - which she does, and she nearly immediately encounters a dragon, who bonds himself to her (in an Anne-McCaffrey-influenced manner). Unfortunately, the dragon, named Earth, although he knows there's a reason for him to be around, doesn't know much else. He seems to be lacking memory, and is very immature. Erde and Earth will just have to muddle along and figure things out. Luckily, they run into a royalist baron who is a big fan of dragons, who's willing to help them.
The novel's pro-feminist, pro-pagan stance is not something I disagree with, but it became a little predictable at times. Also, although the author went out of her way to very specifically set the story in Germany, giving everyone German names and specifying the city of Erfurt, nothing about the characters, their behavior, or the setting feels German it all - it's just a generic fantasy-medieval setting.
Young Erde was at the age where she should have been thinking about good suitors and marriage. Instead, her life was turned upside down when everything she knew, loved and trusted went terribly wrong. She ran away to save her life, and found what her true destiny was. A fantastic read, and the first of the four books of the Dragon Quartet.
A very good "dragon" book, I liked it very much.
Erde is a young daughter of a powerful Lord who flees her father's castle to escape a power-hungry priest and stumbles across a dragon. The dragon is called Earth and he needs her as much as she needs him. Together they begin a quest to set the World on it's proper course, never dreaming of the lengths they will ultimately have to go through to achieve their goal.
Part one is very sad. Erde's father, Baron Josef is convinced by an evil priest, Guillemo Gotti, that Erde has had sexual congress and kills her best friend as punishment. When Baron Josef suddenly makes inappropriate advances to his 14 year old daughter, Erde realizes that it is no longer safe to stay at Tor Alte. Brother Gotti's is totally bat-shit crazy and is roaming the countryside on his own personal witch hunt. Unfortunately, Erde is caught in his crosshairs and flees into the woods where she comes face to face with a dragon named Earth. When Erde (coincidentally pronounced Earth) comes across Heinrich Peder von Engle (Hal) she learns many things that she should have been taught but her grandmother died before she could impart all her knowledge of dragons and dragon quests. The main thing she learns is that she is a Dragon Guide. Now she must figure out exactly what that means for her and for Earth. Earth is a very young dragon and he cannot remember why he was awakened or where he is bound. So they are running blind in hopes that Earth will remember before Brother Guillemo finds them.
I really felt for Erde. She's a naive 14 and out on her own in a scary world where females have no rights. Luckily she's found Earth who serves as her protector and confidant which is interesting since she lost her voice and communicates via telepathy. When Hal joins them on their quest, Erde finally has a male protector who knows some of what is going on and who has had previous dealings with Brother Guillemo.
Even though most of the story is a quest to nowhere for no particular reason except strange prophetic dreams, the story was fascinating and kept me turning pages. The prose is wonderful and the characters (Erde, Hal, Earth, Mule) are entertaining with great personalities and very real problems. I wanted to know where they were going and why. I loved the dragon, the "smart" mule and even the she-goat who "tells" Earth not to eat her (too funny). A wonderfully realized story in a world (Germany I think) that is both brutal and beautiful. I cannot wait to get my hands on [book:The Book of Water|219424] and find out who finds Water and how their quest interacts with Earth and Erde's.
On a side note: the book is classified as young adult and even though the main character is only 14, there isn't any of the usual teenage angst and b.s. I think it's because Erde is on her own for most of the story and she is voiceless. It's hard to complain when noone can hear you.
This is volume one of the four Dragons (Earth, Water, Fire, Air).
I loved this book can't wait to read the second one.