Publisher: Rainbow Gate Books
Fate and a dragon unite two men in a battle for love, magic, the march of time, and holiday joy.
In a time of tall-masted ships and hand-made lives, a Guardian and a sailor find true love and their fates in each other. But romance, and a future together must wait, for duty calls. In a battle against dragons, can they seize victory in time to rescue the magic of Darknight and deliver holiday joy to a world that can no longer find its own way?
All Reo Faramund plans for the evening is to take his son Pariso to the Festival of Lights in Sailor’s Cove, their home when they’re not out to sea on the tall-masted merchant ship, Mighty Hawk. Then, in less than a blink, the festival, the town, and the life he knows all vanish. When they find themselves high on a wintry mountain, Reo fears for their lives until an extraordinary stranger comes out of the night to offer help.
First Guardian Jael Kohlinor patrols high up on Mount Lucia’s flank, his sole purpose to make sure no Flatlanders find out about Lucia, a tiny country hidden in a fold of time where a dragon named Nicholas presides over a bloom of dragon eggs that yields gems and riches every Darknight solstice. Without the Darknight cache, Nicholas can’t deliver holiday wonders across time, and time itself will suffer the consequences. When Jael finds Reo and Pariso shocked and shivering in the winter cold on the night before Darknight, he contemplates wiping their memories and getting them off the mountain, which is what the need for secrecy dictates. But invisible bonds pull Jael toward Reo like fate, and defying all rules he takes the strangers in out of the cold.
Unknown to anyone on Mount Lucia, strange and greedy dragons are already winging toward Lucia with plans to steal Nicholas’s wealth. Jael and Reo might have a future, a family, a fated love, but only if they can first save Darknight.
I loved this original take on a familiar legend. The world building is fabulous, and detailed, and the prose lyrical and rich, just what I’d expect from this author. The characters are well drawn, and I enjoyed reading about their journey to save not only Darknight, but their future together.
Jael, Reo, and their world pulled me into this story immediately and didn’t let go until the final page. As a side note, I love the graphic at the beginning of each chapter. It’s very cool, and helps to set the tone of the story, and also reflects its mythology. The prologue sets up the world build wonderfully well, and I was invested even before I needed to find out what happens to Jael and Reo.
The supporting cast fit perfectly into the story, and I especially liked Nicholas, and Ani, who is strong willed, and practical. Pariso is adorable in both forms.
I thought this was a fabulous take on the holiday season with an interesting story behind what really goes on at that time of year. I’m a huge fan of dragons, and I loved the idea of the Pale, and a realm hidden in time, storing energy, and what that means for the other realms. I liked the references to our world too, and the subtle social commentary about modern life. Although I did guess some of the story, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of it, but instead, added to it.
The final scene and flight of Reo’s new ship was perfect. I love the magic system of this world, and especially how it powers the ship.
I hope we haven’t seen the last of these characters, and their world as I very much enjoyed this lovely feel good story.
5 out of 5 stars.