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Dragon Queen: An Ancient Mirrors Tale    by Jayel Gibson Amazon.com order for
Dragon Queen
by Jayel Gibson
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Synergy, 2007 (2007)
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*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Dragon Queen, Jayel Gibson's first Ancient Mirrors Tale, is the prequel to The Wrekening. As with most first books in a series, it answers many of the questions I had after reading The Wrekening, but also has many of the same problems.

The world of Aedracmorae has been split into seven kingdoms, and three Guardians sent into a slumber, to awaken when the Ancients are ready to train them to unite the kingdoms. One of these Guardians is very special Yavie is the rightful heir to the throne of Aedracmorae, though she must learn this for herself through a series of quests set to test her strength. Eventually, more Guardians come to be trained by the Ancients to help Yavie reunite her kingdom. Along their multiple quests, these Guardians are both helped and hindered by various flytes of dragons whom Yavie will eventually also rule over. Of course, some of the wickedness that shattered Aedracmorae still lingers and Yavie and her Guardians wage many battles for their lives against dark foes bent on their destruction. Yavie must fight the hardest, though, because her love for the son of her father's enemy has sparked her father's hatred and he is determined that they shall never wed and bear a child. Yavie knows she will be able to unite Aedracmorae once more, but she wants to do it with her love by her side.

The major problem with Dragon Queen is that Gibson tries to cram too much in, making the almost six hundred page book a tedious read. In most epic fantasies, the main character and his or her companions will go on one long quest and encounter many challenges along the way; sometimes, this quest will be part of a larger quest that is continued in the next book in the series. In Dragon Queen, however, the characters go on what amounts to a quest per chapter, making the completion of the final overall quest anticlimactic. Also, as each quest takes place in as little as three pages, they lack intensity, reading more like outlines that need to be fleshed out. This string of quests that makes up the plot is further muddled by the number of characters. Many epic fantasies do have multiple main and supporting characters, but the narration usually sticks to just one or two. At various points throughout Dragon Queen, Gibson has the reader following the thoughts of nearly every character mentioned, which makes it hard to empathize with any of them and can also be very confusing as the narrative will switch between characters without any break to signal the change.

Jayel Gibson's first Ancient Mirrors tale would be a much better read if it were fleshed out more and each of the three parts was its own separate novel. However, in order to understand the series, Dragon Queen must be read first, for The Wrekening to make any sense.

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