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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: Dreamwalker (The Red Dragon Academy) (Volume 1) by Rhys Bowen, C.M. Broyles

Dreamwalker (The Red Dragon Academy) (Volume 1)
by Rhys Bowen (Author), C.M. Broyles (Author)
November 12, 2014
Paperback: 282 pages
Red Dragon Academy Book I Seven Children, Seven Powers. One Enemy. Addy Walker is a normal California surfer girl until her mother dies and her British aunt enrolls her at a boarding school called Red Dragon Academy in Wales. At first the school seems okay, if a little weird. Which other school has a sun-day when it's not raining? But when Addy stumbles upon a hallway that leads to a different and horrible part of the school she begins to have her doubts. Addy has always had vivid dreams but now these dreams are becoming frighteningly real and she has a hard time telling dreams from reality. Was it really only in a dream that she visited the cold palace and met the man who wants her captured? He calls her a dreamwalker and it seems that this is a special and dangerous power. Is Addy really able to move between two worlds or is she finally cracking up? Dreamwalker is the first book in the Red Dragon Academy series and in it we meet Addy, as well as snooty Pippa, brainy Raj, cheeky Sam, serious Coby, shy Gwyllum and worldly Celeste—all who may have been brought to the school because of their special powers. All of whom may be in mortal danger from a terrifying tyrant who calls himself The One, in a land that seems a lot like Wales, but isn't.

A cure for Hogwart's withdrawal!

This mother-daughter writing team has produced a great read for those having "Harry Potter" withdrawal! They have created a boarding school for exceptionally "talented" students who have yet to grow into their powers. They have hidden it among a normal boarding school (to pay the bills of course).

The story introduces us to Addison, a young girl from California who has lost her parents and is being "taken in" by her last living relative from England, her mother's sister. As in a lot of stories, this relative is not prepared for the care of a child and is urgent to find a place that will take Addison so she might go on with her busy schedule. Through unseen forces, Addy's aunt comes upon the "Red Dragon Academy" in Wales and immediately sets off to get her settled in the only boarding school that seems readily available at short notice to grant admission. Now most of us might have seen that as a red flag!

Addison is introduced to a strange building and even stranger happenings in this Academy that has promised her aunt to work on Addison"s "Manners and etiquette". She discovers that this building at one time was used for an insane asylum and sometimes wonders if that might apply justly to herself as she has had disturbing dreams most of her young life.

Addy meets 6 other students that become a circle of friends, each with their own "talents". Pippi is an accomplished equestrian, Raj has a highly developed knack for science and physics, Celeste has a heavenly singing voice, Sam communicates with nature and animals, Kobi has uncanny strength of organization, Gwylum has a knack improving physical ailments and Addy...well she just seems to "dream" a lot. These students are all unaware that they have special powers and have been subconsciously "invited" to this school to help rekindle the once prospering culture of the Fareeth people from Gallia who escaped from the "mirror" world when overtaken by one greedy member of the "power of seven"!

Addy discovers this "mirror" world while investigating a "haunted" hallway. (REALLY child? Didn't your mother ever tell you to stay out of dark alleys or hallways?!). From there she enlists the help of her newfound friends to help her rescue one of their own and help many other children from their unthinkable fate.

Never a dull moment in this story and the characters are engaging. I read this every chance I had (even though I had 3 grandchildren under the age of 5 staying with me for 5 days!). I definitely recommend taking this ride on the "Red Dragon" and am just waiting for the next book to continue my journey!

I give this story 4 1/2 stars!


About the Author:
Rhys Bowen's books have been nominated for every major mystery award and she has won thirteen of them to date. She currently writes two historical mystery series, each very different in tone. The Molly Murphy mysteries feature an Irish immigrant woman in turn-of-the-century New York City. These books are multi-layered, complex stories with a strong sense of time and place and have won many awards including Agatha and Anthony. There are 13 book so far in this series plus two Kindle stories, The Amersham Rubies and The Face in the Mirror--a great way to introduce new readers to Molly's spunky personality.

Then there is Lady Georgie, Rhys's latest,and very popular, heroine. She's 35th in line to the throne of England, but she's flat broke and struggling to survive in the Great Depression. These books are lighter and funnier than Molly's adventures. They poke gentle fun at the British class system--about which Rhys knows a lot, having married into an upper class family rather like Georgie's, with cousins with silly nicknames,family ghosts and stately homes. The seventh book is called Heirs and Graces, and on November 5th The Twelve Clues of Christmas comes out in paperback, perfect timing for the holidays.
The series received the Readers Choice Award for favorite mystery series and Rhys was nominated for career achievement.

Rhys was born in Bath, England but spent time during her childhood with relatives in Wales. Those childhood experiences colored her first mystery series, about Constable Evans in the mountains of Snowdonia. 10 books including the Edgar nominee Evan's Gate. She has lived in Austria, Germany and Australia, but has called California her home for many years. She now escapes to a condo in Arizona during those cold California winters. When she's not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, paint and play the Celtic harp.

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