by Toby Forward
Book 1 of the Flaxfield Quartet
don’t be deceived by the cover – this is a book for seasoned fantasy readers who’ll be okay with a little confusion and patient enough to have their questions answered as the story unfolds throughout the series.
Dragonborn begins with these words: Flaxfield died on a Friday… Flaxfield had been teaching Sam to become a wizard. Sam is halfway through his apprenticeship – he knows some magic but not enough. He is completely alone but for his dragon and best friend, Starback. Everything that is familiar to Sam disappears in that instant. Flaxfield’s past apprentices come back to the cottage to honor their master as the rules dictate – while there they question Sam and don’t believe he is an actual apprentice. They frighten and confuse Sam enough so that he runs away in search of someone or a way that will help him complete his apprenticeship. He is determined to become a full wizard. That he will not lose.
Sam’s journey follows a tracing of trails that weaves worlds and times together. For a time Sam loses Starback because he meets a roffle. The roffle leads Sam to a school for wizards suggesting he can finish his apprenticeship there. Once at the school, Sam discovers that it is not what he needs at all. The magic taught there is not what he wants to learn. Most of the teachers and students there lack respect for the rules of real magic, the important kind. Magic is wasted there so it becomes weak and useless. Sam leaves there too.
Almost as soon as Sam begins his journey, the other Flaxfield wizards realize that Sam might be “the one” and they go in search of him. Starback, no longer with Sam, but wishing to help, sees this and leads them away from Sam. He leads castle he once knew. Then it was teeming with life. Strangely now it is lifeless and dark, but it is away from Sam and Starbuck hopes that will keep him safe.
Separated from his friend, Sam’s lonely journey continues. Glimmers of hope appear around some of the bends, while shadows of evil slip through at others. Sam is on a quest, one that threatens his very life. It seems he has no choice but to follow the path before him. There is no running from destiny and by the end of the book I had a inkling of what that destiny might be. There is evil magic abroad and an old danger is gathering strength. It seems that Sam and Starback have an important part to play in this unfolding battle.
I have much more to learn about magic, dragons, Flaxfield, Flaxfold, Tamrin and Ash and I can’t wait! Dragonborn is the first of four books. I am eager to read them all. I had many questions as I read. It was challenging to keep the characters and the action straight. Jot some notes. They may help you understand the sides and that’s important. I found myself rereading large sections of the book to make sure I understood how the pieces fit together. This is a complex book – one to read and read again and enjoy.