The Dragon Queen by Jayel Gibson.  Review by JennSTX (Jenn S Gligoric)

Book Cover Art

Fantasy fans will be thrilled with the new Ancient Mirror Series by Oregon writer Jayel Gibson.  Mrs. Gibson’s background in Celtic history and medieval collection is evident in the sweeping epic that takes readers into the world of Ancients, Guardians, Sojourners, Dragon clans,  and other immortals.    The Dragon Queen is actually the first two books in the Ancient Mirrors series, Into Abaddon’s Abyss & The Dragon Queen.  Unlike many “new” epics, The Dragon Queen actually wraps up completely but still leaves readers anticipating the next novel in the series.  Personally, I want to close a book, especially one as expansive as this, with a sigh of satisfaction and a smile on my face; not throwing it against a wall in frustration due to a vague or incomplete ending.  Readers won’t have to worry about the latter with this story; the characters have both closure and the promise of future adventures.

Although the story has one central heroine, Yávië, the daughter of an Ancient Sojourner King, the other characters are so richly developed that I am sure fans will be divided as to which one is closest to their heart.  There are several love stories throughout the epic but the author shies away from anything that smacks of frothy romance and sticks to imaginative fantasy and gripping action.  The majority of the amorous goings-on are left up to the reader’s imagination.    While I would have liked just a little glimpse of what sex would be like with these strong and engaging immortals, it only added to the strength of the overall story to keep that out and to focus on the many dangerous and complex quests our team of immortals sets out upon. 

The epic is very ‘Rings’-like in that there are maps to the seven different worlds our warrior-queen seeks to unite and a dictionary to explain all the fabulous beasts, plants, people, dragons, and elements that inhabit this lush world.  Readers needn’t fear about the story being overly complex; I was able to read this 500+ page tome over the long Memorial Day weekend, and being the inpatient kind, only read through the dictionary after I read the book.  While I didn’t need the dictionary to enjoy the story, I do wish that I hadn’t been in such a hurry and taken the time to look up a few of the magical creatures along the way.

One impressive twist was the Dragon clans.  In this world Dragon clans (called flytes) are ruled over by a dragon Matriarch and are pledged to Guardians for their use and protection.  The dragons themselves are immortal beings that have allegiances, mates, and enemies.  They are not just fantastical war beasts, but warriors and intelligent beings themselves with many different species.  There are leafy sea dragons that hunt and live in the oceans, shimmering and transparent wind dragons, psychic accordant dragons, as well as, several other interesting varieties which was a pleasant change from the run-of-the-mill science fiction and fantasy fare.

Although I would like to go into more of the individual character plots of Yávië, Nall, Näeré, Galen, Sōrél, Zeth and Rydén, I can’t without spoiling it.  Each character goes through such intense drama, personal discovery, and change that the characters in the end aren’t necessarily the same beings they were in the beginning.  Sōrél & Näeré are the only ones that were pretty consistent, but even one of them had dark secrets till the very end.  Yávië, Näeré & Rydén are all great female roles and I hope that the many women who bristled at being relegated to the most insignificant mentions in Tolkien’s ring trilogy (the books, not the movie that created woman leads) will rejoice in seeing an epic more balanced.

Out of 5 dragon paws this epic scores a solid 4.   

To learn more about the author, the Ancient Mirrors series, or where to purchase your own copy of this great book go tohttp://www.ancientmirrors.com/

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