Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review & Guest Post: The Dragon's Egg by Resa Nelson

The Dragon's Egg by Resa Nelson
Published Date: November 2012
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC
Genre: YA, SciFi

The Story:
In the fourth and final book of the Dragonslayer series, Mandulane’s army is poised to attack the Northlands in the name of a powerful god, but in truth Mandulane is using the act of spreading this new faith as a way to disguise his own personal greed and hunger for power.
Astrid has succeeded in warning her beloved country of imminent danger, and the Northlanders scramble to set up a clever defense, never realizing a spy in their midst is poised to take critical information directly to Mandulane.

After sacrificing herself in order to set her brother Drageen free for the sake of protecting the Northlands, Astrid finds herself controlled by the stone of light.  Although it forces her path of destiny, Astrid learns she must make one final choice about who she wants to be.

Most important of all, her new sweetheart Trep encounters a dragon that entrusts him with the care of a dragon’s egg.  Trep embraces a dangerous journey and accepts the duty of protecting the unhatched dragon, knowing that its safety could impact the fate of the entire world.

My Review:
Perfect ending for an awesome series!!  I didn't want it to end.  I wish it could have even gone on. There's so much that happens in this book.  Astrid has proven to herself that only she has the ability to determine who she will be. 

Resa has given us a beautiful but cruel world.  Cruel in the way that some people treat others (but every good book needs a villian or two, right?) and beautiful in the friendships, and love that we read about.  The imagery that she describes is in such detail, you can picture it, you don't need any more information to help.  The clifts of Dragon's Head, near the sea, I don't want to be down on that beach! 

But what happens to the egg that Trep must protect?  You'll have to read the book!! 


Guest Post by Resa Nelson:
Creating Strong Female Characters by Resa Nelson

A few years ago I realized how important it is to me to write novels about strong girls and women.  I’ve always loved to read, but it’s difficult to find many novels with a female main character.  In childhood, I loved Little Women and A Wrinkle In Time, as well as all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, but almost all the other books I read by authors like Asimov, Bradbury, Poe, Verne, Doyle, Twain, and Dickens were about men or boys.  They’re terrific stories, and I enjoyed them all.  But I always want to read a good story about a girl or woman I can identify with.  Even today these books seem few and far between, so I write the novels I want to read.  I write about female characters that are strong, smart, and courageous.
So how do you go about doing that?  When I think “strong,” I think about strength of character.  To me, that begins with not being wishy-washy.  Whether villain or hero, my characters know who they are and what they want.  They may go through phases of self-doubt or re-thinking who they are, but that’s how they learn and grow.

Many years ago, a friend observed that extreme stress reveals a person’s true character.  In other words, if someone behaves badly and blames it on feeling stressed, that’s just an excuse.  That stressful situation cracked that person’s exterior and revealed what’s really inside.  So that’s one thing I do when I’m creating strong female characters:  I put them under pressure and show how they respond to it.
For example, in my first Dragonslayer book (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) my main character Astrid breaks an unwritten law in order to save a friend’s life when they’re captured by murderous brigands.  Astrid and her friend are shapeshifters who abide by the rule that you always have the right to change yourself but you never have the right to change the way someone else looks.  When her friend balks to a point where she can’t shift her shape to escape, Astrid chooses to break that unwritten law and change the shape of her friend’s hands so she can escape the chains that bind them.  Astrid struggles to make that decision but ultimately believes the most important task is to save her friend’s life and deal with the consequences of breaking the unwritten law afterwards.  Astrid sees it as a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils.  She responds to pressure by making a choice and taking action.

Because American culture pressures women to put others before themselves – often to their own detriment – it’s important to me to create female characters that take care of themselves while also being aware and kind toward others.  I do this because I think it’s important for women to understand their own value and resist the urge to cave in to pressure from society to ignore their own needs.
Sometimes my female characters have physical strength, but they always have emotional strength and an awareness of the world and the people in it.  To me, creating strong female characters boils down to showing how they think, how they make decisions, and how they interact with the world.

About the Author:
Resa Nelson’s first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series, which also includes The Iron Maiden (Book 2), The Stone of Darkness (Book 3), and The Dragon’s Egg (Book 4).

Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."

She has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop.  Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Resa lives in Massachusetts.  Visit her website at http://www.resanelson.com.
About the Dragonslayer series:
The Dragonslayer’s Sword (Book 1)

For Astrid, a blacksmith who makes swords for dragonslayers, the emergence of a strange gemstone from her body sets in motion a chain of events that threaten to destroy her life. Her happiness is shattered when her lover--the dragonslayer--disappears without a trace, and the life that she knows and loves implodes without warning.

Astrid lives in a world of shapeshifters whose thoughts have the power to change not only themselves but others. Everything Astrid knows to be true is called into question when she learns the truth about her past and the mysterious family from which she was separated as a child.

Reality turns inside out as Astrid gradually learns the truth about the people she loves as well as those she disdains. With the fate of dragons, ghosts, and slaves in foreign lands resting on her shoulders, Astrid faces the challenge of deciding who she is and how she will stand up inside her own skin. Will she withdraw and hide from the world that has disappointed her so much...or will she rise to lead others to freedom and peace?

The Iron Maiden (Book 2)

Astrid is reluctant to travel the winter route beyond the Northlands, even though it’s her duty. She’d rather stay home in her village, surrounded by friends and neighbors. Ignoring the bonds of tradition, she decides to spend the cold winter months in the warmth of her blacksmithing shop. Why should she leave the comfort of her cottage to serve and protect foreigners who might raid and harm her native Northlands?

Everything changes when a traveling merchant steals Starlight, the first dragonslayer’s sword Astrid forged and her last link to her sweetheart DiStephan. Having no time to alert her friends, Astrid races in pursuit of the merchant, determined to reclaim Starlight as her own and return home in time for dinner. Instead, her quest leads her to new lands, unexpected friendships with foreigners, and a harrowing encounter with the damage done by the followers of a new god that considers women as nothing more than servants to men. All the while, she must be ready to face any dragon traveling the winter route.

In Book 2 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid must learn that deciding who she is isn’t a decision she can make just once. It’s a decision she must make every day.

The Stone of Darkness (Book 3)

In Book 3 of the Dragonslayer series, Astrid accepts her duty and follows the winter route--until she's bitten by a dragon. Everyone knows dragon bites are poisonous and deadly, so she reluctantly accepts her impending death. In a twist of fate, she survives. Desperate for an explanation, Astrid believes she has somehow been protected by the black stone she keeps with her at all times, a stone that emerged from the sole of her foot a year ago.

Determined to find out what the stone is and what kind of powers it possesses, Astrid begins a journey that leads her to alchemists and an army of men under the rule of the powerful warrior, Mandulane, the acting lord of the Krystr army. Mandulane's mission is to spread the word of the new god Krystr, which preaches the evil intent of women and the danger they pose to all men, who are entitled to dominate the world. Rumors about this new god and army have spread, but Astrid is the first Northlander to encounter them.

Soon, she stumbles upon a secret of a far-reaching and mind-numbing plot that will impact the entire world. Astrid must find a way to spread the news of this threat and protect her people and everyone else at risk. She's convinced the answer lies inside the Stone of Darkness, and she must find a way to understand the stone and the powers she's convinced it must hold before it's too late.

Links:

Resa’s website:  http://www.resanelson.com                                                                       
Free “mini” ebook of Dragonslayer short stories:  http://www.resanelson.com/files

Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871

Twitter:  @ResaNelson
Email:  ContactResa@aol.com

Ebooks ($4.99 each) are available directly from Mundania Press at:  http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks are available from Mundania Press, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:

http://mundania.com/author.php?author=Resa+Nelson (get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
http://www.amazon.com/Resa-Nelson/e/B002C78D2Q/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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