Review: Gift of Charms by Julia Suzuki

Blurb:

Julia Suzuki’s Award Winning ‘Land of Dragor’ series will entrance readers of any age. The Gift of Charms, the first volume of Julia Suzuki’s series is an epic fantasy story set to enchant and entertain…

In a secret land, far away from the habitation of man, dwell the world’s remaining dragons — hoping the dragsaur beasts have vanished forever. In their mystical valley, they live their daily lives, but all is not well and their talents are fading.
Things change, however, when, from a strange egg, Yoshiko is born – a dragon with a unique destiny. Great adventure lies ahead as many challenges must be overcome, leading to a dangerous mission to the human world in attempt to return to the clans their missing magic!

Will the Land of Dragor have a new hero?

Can Yoshiko make it in time?

Editorial Reviews:

“The story is the perfect combination of the worlds of Harry Potter and Spyro and we already can’t wait for the rest of the series.” — LEGENDARIUM US MEDIA

“This is a classic in the making – a mythical magical fable in the tradition of Tolkein and JK Rowling” — PHIL DAMPIER, ROYAL COMMENTATOR & SUNDAY EXPRESS JOURNALIST.

“A beautifully presented, wonderfully unique debut” — THE SUN

“Fantasy fans will warm to this tale of how being different can be a strength rather than something to be feared” — DAILY MAIL

“Action packed. This book is on fire” — DAVID LLOYD, SPORTS ENTREPRENEUR

From the Author:

“I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this – but with unique and modern edge and interactive web presence. I knew first hand what parents were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, yet more than that, I knew also what they sought themselves. They wanted gripping action, loads of adventure – all the classic aspects of heroes and villains, mystery and magic, quests and suspense, and the hope of happy endings.

I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and ‘out there’ and yet still felt somehow real; to fulfil the expectations of book lovers and also hook non-readers back into reading. For me this had to be in the form of a series set in a place we would all be excited to visit – and so the Land of Dragor came to be.

The most beautiful places that I had seen on my international travels were integrated into the setting of Dragor: the amazing mountains of Colorado, the great deserts of Palm Springs, California, the vast waters in the Lake District, and the seaside caves of Cornwall -not forgetting the enchanting wilderness of Scotland. Dragor would be my ideal place to live – full of magnificent scenery, bursting with animals and nature’s magical flowers and plants. A place full of adventure, excitement and promise.” – Julia Suzuki
From the Inside Flap
Many great creatures first roamed the earth with us,” Ma’am Sancy announced to her class, her wings held wide. “There were all different types. Some had trunks and tusks as long as their bodies. Others had claws that enabled them to leap through the highest trees in the forests.”The younglings all gazed at their history teacher, as her words captured their full attention.

“At first they were happy to share the lands with us. But as the years went by, the earth moved and the seas divided” she continued. “Some of the dinosaurs sought survival by breeding with our dragon ancestors against their will creating a super-evil species known as dragsaurs – monsters who were willing do anything to take over the world and destroy us!” One of the orange Mida dragons gasped in horror at the thought of such beasts.

“But despite their efforts, and indeed after many great wars, both dragsaurs and dinosaurs became extinct. It was only us dragons who managed to survive the new climates, though we became slaves to man. That is until one great rebellion, after receiving a special gift we managed to escape and flee to the Land of Dragor, where we now remain hidden below the smoky mists..”

About the Author:

Julia Suzuki was born in Staffordshire, England, adjacent to the Drayton Manor Theme park. The magical sounds of the fairground rides and animals, together with a love of reading, nature and the outdoors, all fed her colourful imagination at an early age.

Julia has a degree in creative writing and has travelled international with her licensing career visiting many of the places that feature in her books. Her philosophy is that ‘a life with lots of magic in it is a more wonderful one’.

Julia was given the British Arts Council Award in 2014.

Review-

I’m sure some of you may be wondering why I read a children’s book. There are several reasons:

1. I am a parent and I believe that not only do my reading habits encourage my children to read, but reading is more meaningful and fun for them when we can have a discussion about the books they read. In order for me to have these conversations, I need to read the book.

2. I have a background in education. I spent more years learning about teaching than I wish to discuss and I have a family FULL of teachers and I have quite a few teacher friends. There is always someone looking for material that can be used in a classroom. (I did use sections of a YA novel to address bullying concerns in my own classroom last year- material I wouldn’t have had on hand had I not been willing to read books intended for younger readers.)

3. I have a major Peter Pan complex. Go ahead and cue the old “I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid” song because it is true. I like to have fun; splash in puddles, climb a tree, jump on the trampoline, or see how high the swing will go. I still believe in magic and fairies and even Santa… I love to embrace the wonder of the world around me and I don’t think that will ever change. (BTW- if you embarrass easily, NEVER go to a toy store, or a library/bookstore, with me and my siblings… We never did learn to act our age and we’re extremely lucky no one has ever kicked us out of these establishments.)

So when I got the chance to review a children’s book about dragons… I dove in without a second thought.

I found this book to be an absolutely amazing story. It immerses you in a world where dragons live on a hidden island safe from the humans that once enslaved them. Unfortunately, safety has it’s price and eventually being isolated from the world takes its toll on the dragons. But a special dragon has been born, one that can bring them back to their former glory.

Yes, it is fantasy BUT there are some really good real life lessons to be learned like learning to embrace your differences, standing up for what’s right, working hard to accomplish goals… These are lessons that children need, in order to become understanding, caring, and successful adults. These lessons are taught through the adventures of the young dragon, Yoshiko, as he discovers his special talents and uncovers his extraordinary destiny.

I thought the story was beautifully written. It was full of rich details and kept me and my inner child interested. The story was compelling; a wonderful epic journey perfect for younger readers. I give this one a 10 out of 10 and I highly recommend it for young readers and those that are young at heart.

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