Do you like fantasy? Have you ever dreamed about riding dragons and be a hero? Well if you did, then you will like this book. It is a book about dreams, courage, friendship and dedication. Written by Laura Stirbu, it was published this year at Quantum Publishers.
It is the story of a boy, but not only. It is the story of a community, the story of unity and loyalty. Iustinian Mojic is a ten year old who dreams about being a Flier, to ride dragons and to fight. He is under the tutorship of Boromir, an old man who took care of him ever since he was a baby. He was told that he was brought to the shore by the sea, but the truth seems to be other.
Now about the story, I can only say it is very complex. It has so many characters that you get lost somehow at the beginning. But as soon as you start to understand who is who, you just cannot let go. You can’t drop the book until you finish it. The characters are very complex and…different, some of them even antagonistic. The action occurs in the United Wallachia, a place ruled by peace, which was created after a great revolution which led to thousands of lives lost.
The story begins with Iustinian at his home in Aquinox, where he lives with the man he calls uncle, Boromir. He learned to fight, to read, and knows everything about the dragons. His big dream is to enroll in a Vel academy, and he got used to the idea to apply for AluvioVel. But his uncle thinks otherwise.
One day, a man comes to Boromir and requests his help in a mission, and Boromir cannot refuse. He tells the boy that they must separate for a while, and that he will be trusted to Martipan, a friend of Boromir. Things seem to go well, at first, but Martipan is not as responsible as he should and loses the boy. Iustinian must now face the challenge of getting to SanteVel by himself. He must face thieves, darkness, loneliness and cold. He wants to cry, but remembers when Boromir told him that Fliers don’t cry and never give up. So he must be strong in order to become one.
Now about the vel academies, they are schools in which young people are trained for serving the country. The titles that you can have are Magus and Flier, but there are also students that could have both profiles, called welden. Normally, students have to pass an exam after the fourth year to become one, but there are exceptions. And of course our little guy is one of them. His curiosity and dedication led the teachers to see him as a candidate. But is it only this?
There is also another character, who might be very important, or even crucial for the future of the United Wallachia. She is called Liliana Venin (her name means venom) and she is the most admired Flier in SanteVel. She is fearless, strong, independent and Iustinian dreams about becoming as courageous as her. But she has a secret which no one knows.
The action, although revolves around the boy, is full of mysteries, intrigue and surprises. What is to be noted is that the author describes the way the boy starts his training. The boy has an immense will which drives him to go on, but he is not like other boys who only dream about it and do nothing. While other children are playing, he is studying and fighting. While other children still fear the monsters under their bed, he dreams about riding dragons and fighting for the country. When he is left alone on his way to SanteVel, he proves to be very conscious about the dangers that haunt him, so he makes decisions almost like an adult. He doesn’t give in to fear, although he feels it.
When he gets to SanteVel, he makes friends with a boy, which also becomes his roommate. Interesting is to see their opposite characters. While Iustinian studies hard and gets involved in all sort of activities concerning the process of being a flier, Diego – cause that’s the name of the boy – only dreams about getting back home. He actually had a couple of tentatives, but he came back after his brother threatened to disinherit him.
All these characters seem to have a kind of dull life, with no notable events, but everything seems to change when Leopod, a famous criminal and father of Liliana Venin, escapes the prison. Everybody fears the worst, but nobody knows the real reason why he escaped.
As you read more and more from the book, you realize that mysteries never stop appearing. There are mysteries around Iustinian, around Liliana and her gang (if I may call it like this) and even around the teachers. And most of them seem to be one way or another connected to Leopod. It seems that a single man can torment the lives of an entire community. Or even more than one.
Regarding Trodheim, I am waiting for the next volume(s) to find out more about what or who he is. Until now, the only mention about was when the school director mentioned the Trodheim bowl. I hope I haven’t missed something.
The book itself is worth reading in my opinion. It has complex characters, intrigue, and a lot of events to surprise you. Some say it is another version of Harry Potter, but I think it is much more than that. If you read it superficially, yeah you might say that. But when you look deeper into it you see individuality, passion, feelings. Harry Potter never asked for being a wizard, but Iustinian has dreamed about it ever since he saw the daylight. Harry Potter is driven by family matters and principles, Iustinian is driven by passion. I see a lot more than a simple comparison between the two of them. Now of course each one has it’s own vision about it. This is my own vision and does not in any way intend to contradict the other opinions. Cause that is all about when it comes to books. The author had a vision, I have a vision and any other reader could have another one.
It all resumes to imagination. They say sky is the limit, don’t they? That’s exactly what I can say about this book. The imagination of the author when she wrote the book touched the sky and got even beyond. And the result was a book that had me read it in two days.
While reading this book, I remembered about two songs that I love. The first one is played by Alexander Rybak (Eurovision 2010 winner if you remember) – Into a Fantasy and the second one is played by Ed Sheeran – I see fire. If the book would turn up into a movie, I think one of them would be perfect as a soundtrack.