Title: Dragon Planet: Kraamlok
Author: Sharon Plumb
Review by: Dyane Forde, Lost Pen Magazine
Version read: Kindle
Target audience: YA and up
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“The Eye shall be Blood, the sun shall be Bone, and dragons shall pass from the world. For it comes, it comes, the kraamlok comes. . . .”
Dragon seer Tondoor was hatched for only one purpose: to ask the starry dragon god, Morwaka, for a way of escape from his tribe’s prophecy of doom from the sky. But Morwaka isn’t speaking to him.
As rebellion brews around him, and his arch-rival tries to steal his dragon love’s heart, Tondoor learns that the answer he seeks might lie with a lunatic dragon lost somewhere in the other five corners of the world. Can Tondoor succeed in his quest to save the dragons he loves — and survive the ones he doesn’t — before the kraamlok destroys their world?
Dragon Planet: Kraamlok presents a world of dragons dealing with an oncoming cataclysmic event that will doom them all. Through a full cast of colourful characters and an environment rich in culture, history, and mythology, the story examines how the dragons deal with the inevitable in their own ways: some want to hide, some don’t believe it, and some try to change their fate.
What I enjoyed the most about the book is the worldbuilding. I appreciated that the author created a world inhabited by dragons that felt as though it could exist. The dragons had culture, history, mythology, and customs, and each dragon group was vastly different from the next, including the way they spoke and acted. Some details such as how their eyes change colour depending on feelings, mood, and veracity, were ingenious touches, as well.
The mythology was particularly strong and beautifully expressed. Tondoor’s clan is steeped in the old ways, and Part 1 shows how ingrained their customs and beliefs are ingrained in him:
“This was why seers came to the desert to find dreams—although truly, what he was seeing was stories. . . . There were so many stars, so many stories, that before one finished forming, another caught his eye. Then he realized why. Morwaka’s Eye was asleep, and the stars had the sky to themselves.”(pg. 42)
Not only is this a lovely piece of writing, but it provides a great example of how mythology informs Tondoor’s thoughts and understanding of the world; to Tondoor, nature itself only makes sense through the filter of the dragon stories and legends.
I did find, however, that the introduction to the dragon world and the various types of dragons and their origins were difficult to grasp at first. The story starts with a bang and then presents the reader with loads of information very quickly. I suggest that readers approach the book prepared to pause to process vast amounts of information right from the start.
Another point is that, for my taste, I would have liked more action and a faster pace, especially in a book labelled “epic.” I found that most of the conflict in the story was relational (love triangles, Tondoor being berated or abused by elders or bullies, Tondoor prevented in one way or another from attending the mating rituals), rather than on the emotional, psychological, and terrifying environmental impacts of the coming kraamlok. There is also a lot of talking, planning, and explaining that caused, for me, some dry spells. That said, it is possible that the slower pacing was done out of consideration for a younger audience who may need more explanations and processing time to ensure comprehension.
One satisfying development was watching Tondoor evolve from a weak, dependent character to one with a voice and the ability to make tough choices and quick decisions. Tondoor grows from his struggles. It was difficult to read how badly he was treated by his own people, including his no-good predecessor, while he doggedly insisted on saving the very same people who regarded him as the lowest of the low. But when I thought of how the Biblical prophets were treated by the people they were sent to, and how they faithfully continued to warn them of oncoming destruction out of obedience to God, Tondoor’s role and purpose made sense to me.
Dragon Planet: Kraamlok is a thoughtful, detailed, imaginative fantasy book that really shines when it comes to its worldbuilding. Readers will feel transported to a time and a place that feels as though dragons could have truly existed. Readers will also be treated to some beautiful, tonal writing and descriptive sections that carry emotional weight.
Young adult and adult fantasy lovers who enjoy easy-to-read, simple stories with a solid main character will enjoy this book.
Final thought: Recommended.
About Sharon Plumb:
Plumb grew up in the mountains of northern British Columbia, writing stories in a small town that no longer exists. Then she moved to the flat prairies, where she writes stories about places that exist only in her imagination. She has written picture books, novels, poems, songs, and plays. She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan. When she isn’t writing, you can find her on her bike or in her garden (in the summer) and trying to finish up the other things she has to do so she can get back to writing.