Sometimes it is hard to find superlatives. The Standing Stone is an outstanding conclusion to this wonderful Celtic/Dragon lore saga. Simply brilliant world building, top class storytelling and writing that flows across the page and straight into your heart.
In book three of the The Dragonmage Saga, Caymin and Péist must find the hidden talisman that controls the dragons and destroy it, while both defeating the evil pairing that caused the dragon war a thousand years before, and helping her friends fight off the impending Viking attack led by a crazed Christian determined to wipe out the old ways.
Set in Eire in the seventh century at a time of clan wars, Christian incursion and the erosion of the druid traditions, The Chronicles of Caymin is firmly set in the legends of celtic fantasy and dragon lore.
Caren Werlinger is a great storyteller and this is a wonderful saga, up there with the best. Book three stands alone, but why deny yourself the joy of all three? The writing is crisp and exact, lyrical yet spare. The story is gripping, in this even more than the earlier episodes, and the reader is literally on the edge of their seat for most of the book.
The subtly is everywhere though, through personal quests, huge loss and dragon battles. Our main characters and many of the secondary’s grow, visably, throughtout. Caymin suffers both physically and emotionally for the decisions she must make. Gai finds himself but loses his brother on the journey. Caymin and Péist both find a parent only to lose them all too quickly. The forest is ravaged and the Mages decimated, even the beloved badgers are not spared. Hard to remember sometimes that Caymin is 12.
The world building is first class, the time lines and personalities distinct. Even at the height of a complex battle between multiple dragons and Mages Werlinger keeps a firm hand and a clear sense of the who and what. The personalities are so strong and so well drawn we know their reactions, can guess their actions. Their emotional suffering is that of friends.
It is a joy to have such a well done series of gender neutral dragon fantasy/celtic lore. Sexual identity and gender are just not issues, for dragon or humans, and it is such a refreshing change after so many years of male/hetero-centric fantasy.
The door is left open for more. Can’t wait to see where Werlinger might take us next.
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(publisher review copy received)
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