January CSFF Blog Tour 2, Day 3: Dragons of the Valley, by Donita K. Paul

Apologies for missing Day 2. When the boss wants something yesterday, you give it to him yesterday. Sigh.

So, last night, I steeled myself to rip through the balance of Dragons of the Valley and finish it in time to dash off a review for Day 3. It’s not that long, and it’s easy reading, but…

Ah, there’s the rub. I didn’t want to. Besides the fact that it would be a disservice to Ms. Paul to give her book a cursory review, I discovered that this is a book that demands to be read slowly, in front of a warm fireplace (or space heater), with a cup of cocoa, herb tea, or other soothing beverage. I don’t know if anybody’s identified “cozy fantasy” as a genre, but if not, then Donita K. Paul may well have invented it. At the very least, this is an exemplar. It’s simply a pleasant, comforting read.

There’s a refreshing guilelessness about the characters. Several of them are endearingly dotty, sort of like the Golden Age Narnians Shasta encounters in The Horse and His Boy, happy souls who seem carefree almost to the point of carelessness because it’s been so long since they’ve had a serious run-in with evil. They do know how to get down to business once they comprehend the situation.

The environs are beautiful and lovingly described. Our heroes and heroines encounter their fair share of peril, but there’s an pervading sense that, even when things seem hopeless, it’s all going to turn out right in the end. God, or “Wulder,” as he’s known in this world, is guiding what happens, even if everybody isn’t quite convinced of His reality. Ms. Paul does a great job of gently and respectfully depicting a variety of characters at different points along the journey of faith we all must travel.

Perfect.

Unlike many other fantasy stories, there’s not an overhanging sense of dread or doom, and no convoluted court intrigue or Machiavellian power politics manipulating events behind the scenes. There’s an enemy to thwart and obstacles to overcome, but it feels like going out on an adventure into the great unknown with old and dear friends–and when was the last time I did that in real life?

Sometimes, that cup of cocoa is exactly what you need.

Next month, we’ll be departing the warm and pleasant realm of fantasy for the decidedly less-cuddly domain of science fiction with Bill Myers’ The God Hater. See you then.

Purchase Dragons of the Valley – http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1400073405
Donita K. Paul’s web site – http://www.donitakpaul.com/
Donita K. Paul’s blog – http://dragonbloggin.blogspot.com/

Gillian Adams
Noah Arsenault
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Amy Cruson
D. G. D. Davidson
April Erwin
Amber French
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Dawn King
Emily LaVigne
Shannon McDermott
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Phyllis Wheeler
Dave Wilson

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9 thoughts on “January CSFF Blog Tour 2, Day 3: Dragons of the Valley, by Donita K. Paul

    1. I keep hearing about cozy mysteries, though I’ve never read one. I found myself on the sofa in front of the fireplace with Donita’s book, and it struck me that the feeling I got from my reading spot and the words on the page were the same. Ergo, cozy fantasy.

  1. It’s the perfect term, Fred. Cozy mysteries are like Miss Marple or Murder! She Wrote. By and large, there’s no real blood and gore, the case is solved through cleverness, and we’re pretty sure going in that the bad guy will get caught (and there might even be a little romance on the side). As soon as you coined “cozy fantasy” I thought, Oh, absolutely!

    Becky

    1. Okay, I thought it was probably something like that…although I enjoy a good mystery every now and then (Dick Francis, Tony Hillerman), I think And Then There Were None is the only Agatha Christie story I’ve read. Murder! She Wrote was a lot of fun. My wife and I used to watch it together. We’re watching a lot of Castle now–a little more goofy than cozy. 🙂

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