Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sanctuary - Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey
Copyright Date: 2005
The jacket blurb:
The young man known as Kiron, who had once been a dragon-boy called Vetch, had achieved more than he had ever dreamed possible. He had escaped the Jouster's compound in Tia on the back of Avatre - a scarlet dragon he had raised form the egg - a tame dragon that was bonded to him. As he had crossed the vast desert with the help of the nomads called the Veiled Ones, he had carried with him one of the greatest secrets of his world: the secret to taming dragons. And when he reached Alta, the kingdom of his birth, his bravery had linked him with the family of a powerful nobleman, Lord Ya-tiren, who had, in turn, introduced him and his dragon-taming techniques to the compound of the Altan Jousters. He had been able to gather a group of dedicated young people who understood the rgigors involved and were up to the task of raising a dragonet from the egg.

But there was also a dark side to Kiron's life. For in gaining entree into Altan noble society, he had come to learn many distressing things about who really controlled Alta, especially with the help of Ya-tiren's daughter, Aket-ten, who had the magical Gifts of Animal Speech, Silent Speech, and the Far-Seeing Eye. Aket-ten was a Fledgling of the magical order of the Winged Ones, and this gentle order was being threatened by a more powerful and less ethical magical order - the Magi. The Magi were subtly but systematically draining the Winged Ones of their magic - thus strengthening themselves. But that was only part of the evil picture. For Aket-ten and Kiron soon began to realize that the Magi were plotting to surreptitiously replace the royal Great Ones and rule Alta, and that they they had built a terrible weapon, the Eye of Light, which could kill from afar, and would support their reign with terror.

Once more, Kiron and Aket-ten had risen to the occasion and had managed, through careful planning, to flee Alta with all the Jousters and dragons, some members of the royal family, and close friends, They had escaped to the Lost City of the desert, a place now called Sanctuary.

Kiron knew that they had to hide and increase their numbers before they would have a ghost of a chance against the Magi. But they had garnered a huge advantage - they had freed the dragons of Tia, therefore destroying the Tian Jousters' army and effectively ending the war between Tia and Alta. Only Ari, the Jouster who had trained Kiron, had kept his dragon, and had come to join them in Sanctuary. But just surviving in the desert, with more and more sympathetic refugees appearing every day, more people to feed and house, more dragonets to raise, was a daunting prospect. And it was just a mater of time before the Magi found the hiding place of the rebels and attacked.

Could Kiron, Aket-ten, Ari, and their allies muster their forces in time to face the Magi? And how would they counter the deadly effects of the Eye of Light?

Sanctuary is the third book in the Dragon Jousters series. As with the others, Joust and Alta, along with Aerie, the fantasy overlay combined with the Egyptian culture and landscape make for a very interesting mix.

Rather than being focused on one country or the other, Mercedes Lackey takes things in a new direction with Sanctuary: the Lost City, which is as much a mystery to the characters of the book as it is to the reader.

The ending of Sanctuary was a definite surprise as well, with some very interesting twists. Still, it is somewhat of a "middle book" in the series. A dramatic ending, but there wasn't as much resolution as there was in either of the first two books. Overall, Sanctuary doesn't stand alone as well as either Joust or Alta, at least in my opinion.

I'm actually not sure if I did read Sanctuary before, as it seems vaguely familiar, but I didn't fully recognize any of the events in the story. Perhaps it's just that this is a Mercedes Lackey book, or it could be because the book came out four years ago, and I haven't read it again since.

Either way, it was a very good read, although I did find it somewhat typical of Mercedes Lackey's young adult suited stories. I think I've noted it before, but the Dragon Jousters books are a set that would be quite well suited for either teens looking for more fantasy and for adults of any age who love dragons and fantasy novels. If you're a fan of Mercedes Lackey and you haven't read these books, you should give them a try. They're not exactly high literature, but they are (as are all of her books) a fun, although quick, read.

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