Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review for The Emerald Dagger

Book Review for: The Emerald Dagger
Written by: Barbara Hodges
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-161252-1374
Avail as: eBook only
4.5 Stars
Hodges pens a fantasy tale full of action, adventure, love, greed, and betrayal with "The Emerald Dagger." The timespace rift to the medieval land, Daradawn, opens only once for seven days every seven years. Kelsey Cafferty plans on going through the rift to visit her sister, Regan, who is married to the high mage, Peter. Will Kelsey stay in Daradawn or return to San Francisco?
With the rift to Daradawn opening, Kelsey plans to visit her sister and friends. Unfortunately, she's delayed in a traffic accident. When she finally goes to Daradawn, she has a visitor, Ben's daughter, Delilah.
There's a new threat to Daradawn's peace. Fairy folk are being mutilated into demon creatures by the evil mage, Dirkk. They ride wolf-like creatures and have killed of Zara's young dragnets. Zara, the mother dragon, wants revenge.
Regan and Kelsey are happy to see each other, but there is much intrigue going on at Queen Tessa's court, where Regan serves. Regan can talk to Zara, but is not successful in changing's Zara mind, bent on revenge.
Regan has her own challenges. She's recently given birth, but her son is kidnapped by the mage, Dirkk. Dirkk possesses the Emerald Dagger. It is a powerful instrument of dark magic. Regan's no slouch in the magic department - she possesses the Blue Flame which does her bidding. When Dirkk kidnaps her son, Daniel, Regan goes to save him, but will her actions be taken as a betrayal of Daradawn's peace? Daradawn's very existence is threatened and only Regan and Kelsey can protect it.
Hodges creates an ensemble fantasy story with likable characters filled with magic, dragons, basset hounds, and sword fights. Hodges imagination shines in the world of Daradawn and its easy to visualize the setting. The writing is brisk, keeping the reader engaged and anxious to know what happens next.
There's no one couple that drives the story, but what Hodges does well is create characters that quickly endear themselves to the reader. Regan and Kelsey have noble hearts, but their upbringing in San Francisco is obvious in their speech and mannerisms. Peter is brave, Rourk is heroic, and Dirkk is deliciously evil.
"The Emerald Dagger" is full of action and intrigue. The story is "sweet" for romance readers and is geared more for a mainstream fantasy audience. The story reads fine as a stand alone novel in the series, but it certainly has me eager to go back and read book one, "The Blue Flame." "The Emerald Dagger" will sweep the reader away to another time and place, keeping them turning the pages.

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