Tag Archives: Dragons

The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

Overview
The Tea Dragon Festival | Book by Katie O'Neill | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

Title: The Tea Dragon Festival
Author: Katie O’Neill
Series: Tea Dragon #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsGraphic novels, LGBTQI, Tea
Dates read: 20th September 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Graphic novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: In my true form, of course.

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Synopsis

Rinn has grown up wit the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village, but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep… but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Critically acclaimed graphic novelist Katie O’Neill delivers another charming, gentle fantasy story about finding your purpose, and the community that helps you along the way.

Thoughts

Like The Tea Dragon Society, this was just a beautiful, sweet and incredibly cute graphic novel. It made you feel completely at peace and happy from the very first page. Whilst also helping to expand your heart with more and more love. Just, completely and utterly adorable.

I love that not only does O’Neill feature minorities in the form of sexual and gender orientation in her graphic novels. But in this one, there is also sign language. Yet another minority group that just doesn’t get enough attention. It reminded me that I would love to learn sign language…

No matter how many times I look at this graphic novel, I’m going to want a Tea Dragon. I’m just not sure which one. Although, I love that in this one, not only are Eric and his partner (I can’t remember how to spell the name) younger, but instead of each having an individual Tea Dragon, they just roam free through the village.

One of my favourite messages in this graphic novel is the idea that no matter what your contribution… it’s still important. Whether that’s cooking, or gathering the ingredients, or being a bounty hunter. Every contribution in our world is important. And as long as you are happy, then it is a worthwhile contribution.

<- The Tea Dragon SocietyThe Tea Dragon Tapestry ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Overview
Amazon.com: Eldest (Inheritance Cycle, Book 2) (The Inheritance ...

Title: Eldest
Author: Christopher Paolini
Series: The Inheritance Cycle #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsMedieval fantasy
Dates read: 21st – 29th April 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Knopf
Year: 2005
5th sentence, 74th page: After dinner, Eragon and Saphira flew together.

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Synopsis

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.

Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life. . . .

Thoughts

I vaguely recalled reading this novel years ago. But, as I reread it… I seriously began to doubt my memories. There was just so much in this novel that I didn’t see coming and which completely pulled me in. There is just a great sense of intrigue and interest in this story… an amazing journey that doesn’t end the way you expect. Although, it does end in a great way. Now I can’t wait to read Brisingr… a book that I know I’ve never read before…

After Eragon’s rough entrance into the world of the Varden and the battles he must face in the future, there is a nice little period of quiet in his and Saphira’s lives. It was actually quite nice to start this book in a period of quiet before the storm. It helped to get to know a little more of the political ramifications of the storyline and characters in play. Which, I’m thinking is going to be seriously important for the rest of the series…

The world of the elves is one that completely reeled me in – which was probably why I enjoyed the downtime that Eragon and Saphira experienced there so much. A world in which trees are sung into buildings, pride is something that is a serious weakness and lives are lived for way too long… of course I’m going to love it. Particularly when Eragon is struggling to create a reality in which he is likely to survive and undergoing some of the harshest training he’s experienced thus far.

Yet, it is the very ending of this story that is the most intense and amazing. Not only is there the traditional, epic, final battle… but there is a great reveal. And a new Dragon Rider in the mix. It opens up a world of hurt for Eragon’s future and makes me seriously want to sink my nose into the next book… which I may just do as soon as I finish writing this review… like… right… now.

<- EragonBrisingr ->

Image source: Amazon

Firewalker by Allyson James

Overview
Amazon.com: Firewalker (Stormwalker, Book 2) (9780425237823 ...

Title: Firewalker
Author: Allyson James
Series: Stormwalker #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: DragonsParanormal romance, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 12th April 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: The bartender came back in.

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Synopsis

Janet Begay’s Crossroads Hotel has attracted the supernatural from the day it opened. Witches, Changers, and a mouthy magic mirror have decided to make it their home. But a new, dark power is rising – this time inside Janet herself.

Her boyfriend, Mick, a sexy dragon shape-shifter the Navajo call a Firewalker, knows what terrifying magic is threatening to overwhelm Janet and her Stormwalker powers. He watches over her, ready to fight for her, to do anything to keep her safe.

But then a mysterious corpse is found near the Crossroads Hotel – and Janet becomes Sheriff Nash Jones’s main suspect. Trouble is, even she can’t be sure she didn’t do it. Now Janet and Mick must uncover what really happened, and their investigation leads to the most perilous decision of their lives: Mick must choose between protecting his own people or guarding Janet, the woman he loves, from the many forces amassing against her.

Thoughts

I read this whole book cover to cover in one night. I should have been sleeping, but I was completely hooked and couldn’t quite put it down. There was just something about Janet’s battle against herself and trying to figure out who she was that made it impossible to put down. Kind of heart wrenching in places and an amazing journey.

After the big reveal about Mick’s identity in Stormwalker, I didn’t think that there would be many more surprises from that quarter. I was wrong though. Although there were no large reveals, but so many small little secrets that leaked out throughout this story. Created characters which were so much more multi-faceted and intense than before. Which I wasn’t entirely sure was possible…

There are a lot of supernatural battles that go on throughout this story – but the part that I like best? The message that you need to find a way to accept yourself. More particularly, accepting all aspects of yourself. For Janet, this is a pretty big deal when everyone around her is telling her that there is something seriously wrong with her and that she needs to just completely shut down a part of herself. I love that even though all this pressure is on her, she find a way to still be true to herself and maintain a sense of dignity.

After an amazing start to a great new series, sometimes the second book can fall a little flat. That’s most definitely not the case with Firewalker, this was a brilliant, amazing and intense journey. One that I absolutely loved and just didn’t want to put down. Yet, now I have to wait “patiently” for the next books to arrive at my doorstep.

<- StormwalkerDouble Hexed ->

Image source: Amazon

Stormwalker by Allyson James

Overview
Stormwalker by Allyson James - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Stormwalker
Author: Allyson James
Series: Stormwalker #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsParanormal romance, Strong women, Urban fantasy
Dates read: 29th March – 5th April 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: I was too tired to answer, too tired to aruge, but I couldn’t deny that I’d missed him too.

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Synopsis

Janet Begay is a Stormwalker, capable of wielding the raw elemental power of nature’s tempests – a power that threatens to overwhelm her. Only her lover, Mick, a dark-haired, blue-eyed biker, is able to siphon off her excess energy and calm the storm raging within her – even as their passion reaches unimaginable heights of ecstasy.

Janet and Mick have come to the desert town of Magellan to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the police chief’s daughter. The barren land around it is full of vortexes, the gateways that connect the human world with the mystical realm of Beneath, and after encountering skin-walkers and receiving hints from a shape-shifting coyote and a smart-ass magic mirror, Janet fears that her own powerful, scary-as-hell mother is involved.

She’s also uncertain about Mick. He can wield fire and never get burned, and Janet can’t seem to touch him with her storm powers. But Janet must trust him, since she and Mick find themselves venturing where no human can survive alone – and only together can they overcome the greatest danger they’ve ever faced.

Thoughts

I’ve been trying to get around to this book for a very long time. And now… wow. It is amazing and unforgettable. Completely unputdownable and just… awesome. I only read a few pages when I first started it, then got distracted. And then, when I picked it up again… I finished the rest of it in one day. Luckily, we’re at the start of quarantine, so I didn’t have to feel too bad about shoving my nose into a book for that long…

Janet is everything I didn’t know I needed in a lead female – she is of Native American descent (which I very rarely come across), has a mother from hell (literally) and some serious boy complications. Yet, in amongst all of that, she finds a way to be herself. She’s not as sassy as some of the other lead women that I’ve loved… but she has this sense of self that I just couldn’t get over. She’s determined to do what’s right and find a way to live her life, even if it’s the more difficult decision. There is something incredibly inspiring and heartfelt about her approach to life, and I think I need to take a few leaves out of her book – I don’t need to be sassy and tough, just find a way to be sure of myself.

Sadly, I had already read Double Hexed before I picked up this novel. Although, it is the reason why I bought Stormwalker in the first place. Regardless, because I’d already read a novella further in the series, I already knew exactly what Mick was. It didn’t take away a bit of the wow factor when the final reveal occurred at the end. But, it did still work well. After all, a lot of the angst in Janet and Mick’s relationship throughout the story is based around the idea that Mick refuses to tell her the full truth. And, to be honest, there were still a few shockers in the big reveal anyway.

Stormwalker is a fantastic first book of a series! I only have Firewalker on my shelves, but the moment I finish this review, I’m going to start on it… this is just such a great series and I absolutely adored every moment of it! I am really looking forward to finding out more about the relationships between Janet, Mick, and their annoying, sexual deviant companions the Magic Mirror and Coyote.

<- A Little Night MagicFirewalker ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

In the Realm of Dragons by Esther M. Friesner

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dark magic book cover

Title: In the Realm of Dragons
Author: Esther M. Friesner
In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, DragonsLGBTQIMagic
Dates read: 9th March 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 1997
5th sentence, 74th page: Ryan sat at his father’s feet and looked up to see a taut jawline, a gaze fixed and fastened on Uncle Graham and Bill.

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Synopsis

Ryan is trying to honour the memory of his estranged Uncle. Clutching a dragon figurine, he travels into the city to find the men who tore his life apart.

Thoughts

I actually really, really enjoyed this short story. Not only was it about the ostracization which can occur to an individual because of their LGBTQI+ status, the hatred towards minorities and the need for one person to make amends, it is also about dragons. Which I love. So the combination took me straight to my little happy place.

For starters, I loved that there was a blurring of lines between reality and imagination. Even at the end of this story, you’re not entirely sure if the dragons was there in reality, or whether it was all just hopeful imagination and revenge. There was great, powerful imagery with the use of dragons and figurines. The flicking back and forth between memory and present. Reality and dreams. I loved this mystic quality and the way it created an amazingly powerful storyline.

I also loved that this story featured a homosexual man. It was the cause of all of his tragedies, but it was nice to have a story that realistically and deeply investigated how ostracization due to your sexual orientation can destroy a life. Can rip and tear it apart in a way that is unexpected, powerful and potent. And, obviously, very tragically.

<- DisillusionedForever ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

Blood and Gold by Erin M. Hartshorn

Overview
Image result for the mammoth book of dieselpunk book cover

Title: Blood and Gold
Author: Erin M. Hartshorn
In: The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: DieselpunkDragons
Dates read: 8th March 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: The other dragons had come too close that time.

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Synopsis

He’s a dragon who is looking for a new place to make his own. When he finds what he’s looking for… he will reign down blood and gold.

Thoughts

I really liked the use of a dragon in a Dieselpunk story. It was certainly different and unexpected. The imagery of him curled around the skeleton of the Chrysler building (even though I don’t know what the Chrysler building looks like) were kind of brilliant and poignant. And it gave this very industrial, turn of the century feel to the storyline. There was just something great and unique about this.

At first, I felt like the dragon would be somehow beneficent and a bit of a protector of the city. There seemed something about him that kind of screamed justice. And then I continued onwards with the story. And realised that that wasn’t really the case. He was just greedy and finding a way to gain the blood and gold that he needed.

Although I prefer my dragon stories to be about the powers, might and just simply placing the dragon on the “right” side of the argument, I kind of liked that this wasn’t about that. Sure, the power and might were there. But it was more about that traditional image of a dragon – one that wants power, might and gold. And really doesn’t give a damn about us measely little humans. It was nice to go back to something a little more traditional…

<- Act of ExterminationFloodgate ->

Image source: Running Press

Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs

Overview
Image result for book cover dragon blood patricia briggs

Title: Dragon Blood
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Hurog Duology #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsMagic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 30th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Ace Fantasy
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: Her tail curled around her front paws and she purred when my eyes met hers.

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Synopsis

CALL TO REBELLION

Ward, ruler of Hurog, is striving to restore his lands and people to prosperity, wanting nothing more than a quiet life. But when an old friend, escaping from high King Jakoven’s torturers, seeks refuge in his keep, Ward can no longer ignore the growing rebellion against the tyrannical High King. He realizes that he cannot stand aside – he must join with the rebels.

However, Jakoven has a secret weapon with which he intends to crush the rebellion: Farsonsbane, a magical artifact that has destroyed entire cities. But first, Jakoven needs blood to awaken it. Dragon’s blood. The very blood that courses through Ward’s veins…

Thoughts

I have read this before. So I didn’t think I’d get as insanely hooked… I read the whole book in one day. While I was trying to write a paper. Probably not the best book to sink my literary teeth into if I’m being honest with myself…

Although Dragon Bones would have been fine as a standalone, I’m really glad that Briggs decided to revisit this world. There is just something about Ward and Hurog that makes it difficult to walk away. Plus, interestingly, it is the only one of her series thus far that features a male lead. Yes, there is still a strong, independent woman in this story. But it’s written from Ward’s POV and more so about him. Tisala is his love interest.

Dragon Blood is a fantastic end to this duology. Not only do you feel like Ward and Tisala get to live happily ever after. Their country and peoples’ are finally safe from a tyrannical king and an ancient artefact that could kill them all is also destroyed. A very good, easy happy ending that still lets you know that everyone continues to live and fight their battles – after all, dragons, bandits and magic are still heavy in the air.

If I was asked to describe in one sentence why I love this story so much… I wouldn’t be able to answer the question. As with all of Patricia Briggs’ books, there is something about the writing, the character building and the battles that Ward overcomes that make it impossible not to love the tale. Add in a heavy dose of dragons and medieval sword fight… I’m kind of sad that I read through it so quickly… again. I read this in one day last time too…

 <- Dragon Bones ReviewMore Patricia Briggs reviews ->

Image source: Goodreads

Flying Blind by Deborah Cooke

Overview
Image result for book cover flying blind

Title: Flying Blind
Author: Deborah Cooke
Series: The Dragon Diaries Trilogy #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: DragonsParanormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 7th October 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Allison & Busby Limited
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: She snapped her fingers and chuckled.

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Synopsis

I will shift shape and I will cast dreams and I will be everything that I am forecast to be. I am the Wyvern. And I will claim my birthright, right here and now.

Zoe Sorensson is a perfectly normal teenage girl. That’s the problem. She’s always been told she’s destined for great things – she is a dragon shape shifter, a Pyr, and the only female one of her kind. But Zoe’s powers are AWOL, so she’s sent to Pyr boot camp.

Zoe quickly realizes that she has to master her powers yesterday, because the Pyr are in danger and boot camp is a trap. The Mages want to eliminate all shifters and the Pyr are next in line – unless Zoe and her friends can work together and save their own kind.

Thoughts

This is one of those random, impulse buys on my shelf. One that I saw in the shop for cheap, grabbed and didn’t even bother reading the blurb for. Sometimes they work out well, sometimes not so much. This is one of those impulse buys that did work out really well… I have a brand new, fun series to obsess over and a new author to pile onto my shelves.

As a teenager, I always had a lot of male friends, and always felt like a bit of a misfit at school. Which is why Zoe would probably have been a major favourite with me when I was in high school. She doesn’t have a huge click at school, but her life out of it is kind of intense and insane. In all of the ways that I wanted for myself… alright, I never truly believed that I could turn into a dragon… but wouldn’t that have been AWESOME?!?!

Although I’ve never had any of the pressure of being the “one hope” and a messiah to my people (most days I’m not even sure who my people are), I do understand the kind of pressure that can be placed on a person. When there is a sense of hope and belief in you it’s kind of beautiful. But it’s also really intense and overwhelming – what do you do if you stuff up? Zoe is constantly grappling with this and being questioned by her peers. There is this overwhelming sense of failure in herself, and it isn’t until she finally finds that one person to believe in her that she starts to gain her own identity again.

Flying Blind is a great coming of age tale. And it’s just the beginning of a series! It’s shows you that it’s your belief and inner strength that can lead to great things. That anything is possible, and that maybe sometimes you need to seriously take a step back and stop listening to that horrible, jealous little voice in your head…

 <- Blazing the Trail ReviewWinging It Review ->

Image source: Goodreads

Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia by Christopher Paolini

Overview
Image result for eragon's guide to alagaesia book cover

Title: Eragon’s Guide to Alagaesia
Author: Christopher Paolini
Series: The Inheritance Cycle Companion
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: DragonsMedieval fantasy
Dates read: 28th August – 4th September 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Graphic novel
Publisher: Doubleday
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: His order, which has endured for a least five hundred years, believes that all knowledge is sacred.

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Synopsis

From the creators of the bestselling books Dragonology, Egyptology, Piratelogy, and others, this is a never-before-seen glimpse into the world of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle. Alagaësia comes alive in a lush and detailed look at an unforgettable magical land. From elves, dwarves, Urgals, humans, and dragons, to the natural landscape and the magic it contains, Eragon himself offers the reader an unsurpassed tour. This oversized, full-color book provides 15 spreads chock full of spectacular artwork, engaging novelty elements, and fascinating insights into Eragon’s home. With gorgeous jewels adorning the cover and pages filled with envelopes, gatefolds, samples of dragon skin, and more, Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia is sure to appeal to the legions of fans of Christopher Paolini’s bestselling Inheritance cycle.

Thoughts

This is one of those fun, cute and easy reads. Albeit a little hard to lug around anywhere, hence the fact that it took me so long to actually read this. It’s only about half an hour of reading, but you actually need to be able to sit in a comfortable spot with a ginormous book for that period. With two dogs trying to climb all over me… that’s difficult.

I might be a grown woman, but I love interactive stories and pretty pictures as much as the next girl. They’re just fun. And all of the different textured pieces placed throughout were even more enjoyable. It bought back the enjoyment of my first books as a child. Before I was really able to read to any decent level.

I read this companion before Eldest, and I’m so grateful that there weren’t many spoilers throughout. I was expecting far more, but except for one tiny slip about Eragon’s father, there was nothing to hint at what was going to happen in the future of the series.

This was a really nice and easy read for the last few days when my head has been full of PhD work and event planning. And it just makes me want to pick up Eldest all the more… although maybe I should finish a few books that I’ve already started first…

<- The Fork, the Witch & the WormEragon ->

Image source: Goodreads

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Overview
Image result for eragon book cover

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Series: The Inheritance Cycle #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsMedieval fantasy
Dates read: 20th – 26th August 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Knopf
Year: 2002
5th sentence, 74th page: He pulled his arms inside his coat and tied the empty sleeves around his neck.

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Synopsis

One boy…
One dragon…
A world of adventure.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stones brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire himself.

Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Thoughts

It’s been a long time since I first picked up this book. So long, that at the time, only the first two books in this series were actually published. And I can’t believe that I hadn’t picked it up again… the fact that it was boxed away while I moved houses over a few years probably contributed quite strongly to the delay too. But, I digress… this is one of those amazing stories that you constantly remember and wish didn’t quite have to end. Whilst rushing towards the end, because you just have to find out how everything happens.

One of my favourite tropes in fantasy is the taking of an ordinary person and turning them into something amazing. The use of their strength and personal traits, their ability to overcome all bought into the limelight because one little, fantastical accident of fate. It’s probably one of the most repetitive tropes I’ve read, but it’s one that genuinely works. After all, we all feel like nobodies at times and wish that we could get swept away into an adventure. Eragon is the perfect example of this. A young, lonely, illiterate farm boy who stumbles upon an egg and is swept up in an adventure of mayhem and good vs evil.

This is one of those stories that is a little difficult to place within a fantasy shelf. It’s not quite epic, it’s not quite young adult. It’s this great version in between. It suits a range of tastes and reading levels. And, as I discovered with this reread years later, lets you grasp a different aspect of the storyline and pick up on different hints and tales whenever you sink your nose into the tale.

This is a story of dragons and swords. Mysteries and battles. A story in which you don’t really know if Eragon is making the right decisions. Whether or not he’s fallen into a political cesspool or actually found sanctuary. It’s this great tale that completely sweeps you up and makes you want to pick up Eldest from the very moment you close the final pages. After all, one battle has been one, but the war is just beginning…

<- Eragon’s Guide to AlagaesiaEldest ->

Image source: Amazon